Christ Upon The Mountain Peak
Alternate Tune (Liebster Jesu)
The text of, Christ Upon the Mountain Peak (United Methodist Hymnal, 260), the second hymn written by Brian Wren (1962), is perhaps the best Transfiguration text among the few in our hymnal. Hymnal editor Carlton Young writes glowingly of the tune, Shillingford, by Peter Cutts, accompanying this text. Acknowledging the difficulty many congregations will have with this tune, Young suggests in his Companion to The United Methodist Hymnal (Abingdon, 1993) that "choir or soloists might sing the stanzas, with the congregation joining on the Alleluia" (p.283). With characteristic Young wit, he goes on to say, "The alternate tune Liebster Jesu, 182, is suggested for the faint of heart."
A congregation need not be "faint of heart" to substitute Liebster Jesu. It is likely that, Christ Upon the Mountain Peak, and Shillingford are among the least frequently sung of all texts and tunes in our hymnal. Recent research has shown the hymn to be among the least favorite, most disliked, and most difficult to sing among the hymns in the book. Using Liebster Jesu is one way of including this excellent text in congregational worship.
Wren's text doesn't fit Liebster Jesu neatly - it requires some adjustment. The single "Alleluia" that concludes each stanza must be extended or repeated to fill out the final phrase of the tune. If you try this in worship, be sure to fully rehearse and prepare the choir and instrumentalists. Because of copyright restrictions, we cannot make a downloadable score of the text and Liebster Jesu available. We have, however, made available melody-only and hymnal harmonization versions of Liebster Jesu below.
Additional information on Brian Wren can be found here.
Additional information on Carlton Young can be found here.