Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence

“Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence” is a eucharistic hymn translated from the fifth-century Liturgy of St. James and set to a 17th-century French carol.

In this particular liturgy (attributed to St. James the Less, first bishop of Jerusalem), a hymn of preparation and adoration is sung by the celebrating priest as the communion bread and wine is brought to the altar of the Lord. The Anglican priest and hymnodist Gerard Moultrie (1829-1885) translated and paraphrased the hymn, whose opening words “Let all mortal flesh keep silence” are based on the words of the prophets Habakkuk (“But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.” 2:20) and Zechariah (“Be silent, all flesh, before the Lord, for he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.” 2:13).

Click or touch here for Moultrie’s text (PDF).

Ralph Vaughan Williams, editor of the English Hymnal of 1906, adapted a French carol dating from the 17th century and published in Chansons Populaires des Provinces de France (1860) for Moultrie’s text, naming the hymn tune PICARDY for the region of France from which it is thought to originate.

Contemporary, jazz-flavored harmonies characterize this arrangement for trombone and piano.

Piano score, bass clef and Bb treble clef solo parts — $5.99