The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

How Beautiful Upon The Mountains

For the Christmas-tide

Words: An adaptation of Isaiah 52:7 and Isaiah 40:3-5
and variants

Music: Sir John Stainer and numerous others

Source: A Selection of Carols, Pieces, and Anthems, Suitable for Christmas. (London: W. Kent and Co.; Penzance: F. Rodda, ca. 1872), p. 35.

CHORUS.
How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of Him that bringeth good tidings;
that publisheth peace.

BASS SOLO.
The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness.

TRIO.
Prepare ye the way of the Lord ;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

CHORUS.
Every valley shall be exalted;

TENOR SOLO.
Every mountain and hill shall be made low ;
and the crooked shall be made straight;
and the rough places plain. -

CHORUS.
And the Glory of the Lord shall be revealed;
and all flesh shall see it together ;
for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

Scriptual Note:

Isaiah 52:7. How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! (KJV)

Isaiah 40:3-5.

3. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
4. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:
5. And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
(KJV)

Note Concerning Arrangements:

There are a large number of arrangements reported for this anthem and variants based on the same verses from the Book of Isaiah, only a few of which are reproduced on this page. In some cases, this text is the chorus of an anthem whose first line is "Awake, Put On Thy Strength, O Zion" or "Arise, O Jerusalem, And Stand On High." The Hymnary reports that this chant / anthem is published in 22 hymnals. See How Beautiful Upon the Mountain.

These three sources have listings of arrangements of this anthem from various dates. Some additional contemporary sources are also available.

All of the following are in the public domain in the United States having been written before 1923 with one exception, as noted. I was unable to locate a complete copy of the arrangement by Sir John Stainer, "Awake, Put On Thy Strength, O Zion;" a partial copy was printed in The Musical Times in 1918. There are also a number of arrangements under copyright and available from contemporary music publishers.

Sheet Music by F. Flaxington Harper, Opus 41, No. 3 (G. Schirmer, 1910), Six Pages from Arizona State University Digital Repository

How Beautiful Upon The Mountains-Harker.pdf

A second copy of Harper's Opus 41, No. 3 (G. Schirmer, 1910, 1927, 1938), 12 pages.

How_Beautiful_upon_the_Mountains,_Op.41.pdf

An abbreviated version from Thirty-six Selected Sacred Songs : Voice and Piano (Heintzman & Co., Ltd., No Date) for high, medium and low ranges.

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Only the verse, "Arise, O Jerusalem, And Stand On High," not the chorus, "How Beautiful Upon The Mountains." It seems cut off, but there's nothing further in the book.

 

Sheet Music by George J. Webb from The High School Choralist: A Selection of Choruses and Four-part Songs, from the Works of the Great Masters : for the Use of High Schools, Colleges, &c (O. Ditson, 1896), pp. 71-77.

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Sheet Music by R. A. (Robert Archibald) Smith from The Anthem Book of the United Free Church of Scotland (London: Novello and Company, ca. 1905), #81, pp. 205-206.

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Sheet Music by R. A. Smith (London, J. Alfred Novello, 1853) from The Musical Times and Singing Class Circular, Vol. 5, No. 107 (Apr. 1, 1853), pp. 167-169.

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Sheet Music by R. A. Smith in Selected Anthems, Part 2 (Paisley: J. and R. Parlane, 1890), Number 23, Page 49

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Arrangements of both Smith and Webb in W. H. Monk, Book of Anthems (1886). For the Church of Scotland. Arranged for Treble, Alto, Tenor and Bass. I am completely unfamiliar with this type of notation.

R. A. Smith, #823, pp. 552-553, and George J. Webb, #824, pp. 553-555.

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Sheet Music by John Tullidge from Ebenezer Beesley, A Collection of Hymns and Anthems (Salt Lake City: Juvenile Instructor Office, 1883), pp. 39-43. "For Use of the Salt Lake City Tabernacle Choir."

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Sheet Music by John Tullidge from Evan Stephens, Temple Anthems for General Use by all Church Choirs (1913), pp. 10-13.

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Sheet Music by G. R. Sturgis from G. R. Sturgis, Choral Echoes : a collection of secular and sacred music, for singing schools, conventions, normals, day schools, and the home circle (1888), pp. 134-137.

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Sheet Music by D. F. Hodges published by White, Smith & Co., Boston, 1883 from the Library of Congress.

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Sheet Music by E P Noyes from William Augustine Ogden, The Anthem Choir : consisting of anthems, choruses, opening and closing pieces, adapted to dedication, ordination, installation, Christmas, funeral, missionary, and other occasions (1872), pp. 43-47.

How_Beautiful-Ogden-Anthem_Choir-1871-p43.jpg (124846 bytes) How_Beautiful-Ogden-Anthem_Choir-1871-p44.jpg (123538 bytes) How_Beautiful-Ogden-Anthem_Choir-1871-p45.jpg (119130 bytes) How_Beautiful-Ogden-Anthem_Choir-1871-p46.jpg (110438 bytes) How_Beautiful-Ogden-Anthem_Choir-1871-p47.jpg (113463 bytes)

 

Sheet Music by Thomas Whittemore, The Gospel Harmonist (Boston, 1841), "Awake, Put On Thy Strength, O Zion," pp. 262-265.

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Sheet Music to "Motetto"  by Zeuner (Last name only) from Continental Harmony, A Collection of The Most Celebrated Psalm Tunes, Anthems, and Favorite Pieces; Designed Particularly for "Old Folks' Concerts," and the Social Circle. (Boston: Oliver Ditson & Co., 1857), #186, pp. 113-116.

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Sheet Music by White (Last name only) (1848) from Continental Harmony, A Collection of The Most Celebrated Psalm Tunes, Anthems, and Favorite Pieces; Designed Particularly for "Old Folks' Concerts," and the Social Circle. (Boston: Oliver Ditson & Co., 1857), pp. 278-281.

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The cover of this collection had the following text:
Continental Harmony, A Collection of Music, Principally Designed for "Old Folks Concerts."

Continental_Harmony_Cover.jpg (88981 bytes)

 

Sheet Music by Mary Higginbotham Jones (1991, released to public domain for non-commercial uses) at Free LDS Sheet Music,

How Beautiful Upon The Mountains.pdf

An MP3 is also available of a recording made in 1993 by Mary and her sisters. Mary Higginbotham Jones passed away in 2001 at the age of 39 years, a mother of nine children. More of her music was recorded in December, 2002 by her family, who also published a book. There is a brief biography at the above web site. 20 of her arrangements are available at Mary_Higginbotham_Jones Free LDS Sheet Music has over 4,500 free sacred pieces for choir, solo, primary, etc. from over 250 Christian/LDS composers.

See also Sing, O Heavens! And Be Joyful O Earth.

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