Harvest Festival is a celebration of the food grown on the land which has been recognised in Britain since pagan times.
We plough the fields and scatter
the good seed on the land,
but it is fed and watered
by God’s almighty hand;
he sends the snow in winter,
the warmth to swell the grain,
the breezes and the sunshine
and soft refreshing rain.
All good gifts around us
are sent from heaven above,
then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord
for all his love.
This Harvest hymn written by the German poet Matthias Claudius is said to be one of the most popular hymns sung today. Personally as an organist I confess it is perhaps my least favourite hymn, but this is more to do with the tedious tune which is often set slightly too high for the average church congregation. Nevertheless, the chances are if you attend a church harvest festival service at some point during September or perhaps early October, you are fairly likely to find yourself singing this hymn.
The hymn (“Wir pflügen und wir streuen” in it’s original guise) is said to be inspired by Psalm 144, although with the exception of the verse about filling barns with all manner of store, there is little here which directly relates to Harvest.
As well as hymns there are a number of anthems suitable for harvest. Perhaps the most notable are Thou Visitest the Earth (Maurice Greene), Look at the World (John Rutter) and Come Ye Thankful People Come (CV Stanford).
Whilst the choice of music may not be quite so extensive as at Christmas, there is still plenty of scope to find lots of interesting music to celebrate Harvest season. Whether you are a church choir, a community choir or perhaps a school choir there is a feast of music readily available which would make for an interesting album. Unlike Christmas CDs, Harvest albums, whilst still somewhat seasonal are likely to be easier to sell at other times of the year too.
If you would like to record a CD or digital album with your choir – regardless of whether it has a harvest theme or not, then please get in touch. You can phone us on 01225 302143 or click here for our contact form.