William Billings
(1746 - 1800)

Billings : O praise the Lord of heaven : illustration

O praise the Lord of heaven
(S.A.T.B. + reduction)
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An anthem for Thanksgiving from Billings' Continental Harmony, 1794. The reduction should be reserved for rehearsal. I have attempted to preserve the differences in relative speed shewn in the original. Billings' own absolute tempi are well documented (a pulse of c.80 per minute would apply to this piece) but have been increased, more readily to accord with the modern audience's attention span.
Lyrics: Psalm 148 (adapted)

O praise the Lord of heaven: praise him in the height.
Praise him, all ye angels. Praise Jehovah.
Praise him, sun and moon and blazing comets: praise the Lord.
Let them praise the Name of the Lord: for he spake the word, and they were made; he commanded, and they were created. Admire.
Ye dragons whose contagious breath people the dark abodes of death,
Change your dire hissings into heav'nly songs, and praise your maker with your forked tongues.
O praise the Lord of heaven.
Fire, hail and snow, wind and storms, beasts and cattle, creeping insects, flying fowl, kings and princes, men and angels, fear the Lord.
Jew and gentile, male and female, bond and free, earth and heaven, land and water, praise the Lord.
Young men and maids, old men and babes, praise the Lord.
Join creation, preservation and redemption: join in one:
No exemption, nor dissension, one invention and intention
Reigns through the whole to praise the Lord.
Hallelujah: praise the Lord.