Go to Dark Gethsemane

“Go to Dark Gethsemane” recounts in in four stanzas significant events in the Passion and Resurrection of Christ: his agonized prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, his judgment and sentencing, his death upon the cross, and his rising from the tomb. Its imperative verbs throughout — “go,” “see,” “watch,” “learn,” “follow,” and more — invite singers and hearers to participate vicariously in the events of the Passion; thus, it is an appropriate hymn for Holy Week, especially for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday.

Scottish-born James Montgomery (1771-1854) was a newspaper editor, poet, and advocate for humanitarian causes who wrote more than 400 hymns, including “Hail to the Lord’s Anointed” and “Angels From the Realms of Glory” in addition to “Go to Dark Gethsemane.”

The tune most often associated with the hymn, REDHEAD No. 76, is named for composer Richard Redhead (1820-1901), who published it as number 76 in his Church Hymn Tunes, Ancient and Modern (1853) as a setting for the hymn text “Rock of Ages.” Today, it is also often associated with the hymn text “Chief of Sinners Though I Be” by William McComb (1793-1870).

Score, parts (Bb tpt. 1, Bb tpt. 2, F horn, tbn, tuba) — $12.99