"We have come at Christ's own bidding"

Original Tune: Transfiguration

Date Completed

June 27, 1991


Choral (more like this), Hymn Tune (more like this)


Unison Choir with Soprano Descant, optional Congregation





Difficulty Level

Moderately easy

Liturgical Use

Transfiguration, Last Sunday after Epiphany




Carl P. Daw, Jr.


A Transfiguration Hymn



Date Written





Copyright © 1988, Hope Publishing Company


Publication Data

Publisher Name

Paraclete Press

Date Published


Catalog Number

PPM 09511






Commissioned by The Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration, Dallas, TX. Premiered August 18, 1991 at the same, with the composer at the organ.

Joel's Comments

The tune Transfiguration was composed for a text previously commissioned from the Rev. Carl P. Daw, Jr, by The Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration, Dallas, TX. This was part of series of works on the transfiguration theme which were commissioned by the late Howard E. ("Buddy") Ross, the parish's director of music at the time. Other pieces included an anthem by Gerald Near and an extended work by a local composer.

Carl Daw's wonderfully-rich text was sung for several years to the tune Hyfrydol. It soon became apparent that these new words deserved a new tune, and Buddy contacted me to compose one. This project was from its inception close to my heart, as I had been a member of the parish since 1988, and had found solace and a spiritual home there during the Thursday noon Eucharists. The composition of the tune came very easily until the very last phrase of the text. Here I was stuck — really stuck! Finally one day, I decided to play through the tune singing the text of the second stanza, and had a breakthrough on the word "transfigured" when I played a fairly "funky" chord which was far away from the F major tonality of the hymn (see bar 15). I call this Db 6th chord the "transfigured chord" to this very day.

The harmonized tune for Transfiguration was completed on June 10, 1991, and was first sung by a group of musicians standing around the organ at Northaven United Methodist Church following a recital by Pipe Organ Encounter participants. I later added a descant for the third stanza, which required a slight alteration in the harmony of the accompaniment, and the work was totally complete on June 27. Later additions have been an organ introduction in the form of a trio, as well as an interlude before the final stanza. (These are as of yet unpublished, but keep checking on this website for future publication.) This tune tied with another of mine (Harvest Hill) for in The Hymn Society's unsolicited hymn competition for 1991, and both were first published in the July 1992 issue of The Hymn.

For many reasons, this is one of my favorite hymns and a favorite among my compositions in any genre. It also continues to have a special place in the repertoire of our congregation, and is a prime example of how successful a work can be which fills a void in the corpus of liturgical repertoire. This hymn anthem had sold over 14,200 copies by the summer of 2006 for use on the August 6 feast day, The Last Sunday after the Epiphany (RCL and Episcopal lectionaries) and/or the Second Sunday of Lent (RC lectionary).



User Comments

"August 19, 1991

Dear Joel,

It was a great pleasure to have you serve as supply Director of Music for us yesterday while Howard was on vacation, and it was exciting to have you meet the congregation and then play and direct the first presentation of your new hymn tune "Transfiguration." I am aware that it is hard for the musician to hear what's going on in the congregation from the bench, but allow me to assure you that the congregation sang the new tune very well. It is going to be a favorite very soon, and that's obvious.

Thank you for writing 'Transfiguration' for us. I feel that it makes a special link between you and people of this parish.

Sincerely yours,
Terence C. Roper, Rector."



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