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Hymn of the week: “Christ Jesus Lay in Death’s Strong Bands”

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A beautiful fanfare for the second week of Easter.

Christ Jesus lay in death’s strong bands,
for our offenses given;
but now at God’s right hand He stands
and brings us light from heaven.

“Christ Jesus Lay in Death’s Strong Bonds” is a 16th-century hymn whose lyrics were written by Martin Luther. Traditionally sung on the second week of Easter, the hymn reflects on the sacrifice that Jesus made on the Cross, as well as the glory of his resurrection.

This recording was made by Concordia Publishing House for their album, Hymns for All Saints: Lent, Easter, Pentecost, which is full of hymns from their published hymnals. The recording features a rousing horn fanfare, as well as a perfectly blended chorus that provides the listener with clearly distinguishable lyrics, thanks to their great diction.

Martin Luther wrote this hymn in 1524, in preparation for his German mass. During this time he lived with court composer, Johann Walther, who is credited with the hymn’s tune, also known as “CHRIST LAG IN TODESBANDEN.” Although the work is attributed to Walther, it is believed that Luther had a hand in the arrangement, as the lyrics and music were both written during a 3-week period in which they shared the same house.

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