Posted by: rcottrill | September 15, 2010

Today in 1855 – Adam Geibel Born

Though blinded by an eye infection at age eight, Geibel became a successful composer, conductor, and organist. His tune for George Duffield’s hymn Stand Up for Jesus (named Geibel, after the composer) is found in some hymn books. Though perhaps it is better suited to choral than to congregational use, it is a dramatic marching melody, with a strong military feel that suits the text of the hymn. Here’s a link to a rather mediocre version of the tune Geibel (for some strange reason described as a Southern Gospel rendition!). It will at least give you the melody. If you can find a good choral rendition, please let me know.

(2) Today in 1932 – Charles Gabriel Died
Charles Hutchinson Gabriel is one of the most prominent and notable gospel composers of the early twentieth century. He wrote many hymn texts, but mostly he is known as a composer of melodies for the words of others. (For more on Mr. Gabriel see Today in 1856.) Among the songs for which he wrote both words and music is a hymn of aspiration called More Like the Master.

More like the Master I would ever be,
More of His meekness, more humility;
More zeal to labour, more courage to be true,
More consecration for work He bids me do.

Another of Gabriel’s offerings is the hymn of testimony, He Is So Precious to Me. It illustrates for us the important work of editors who spot weaknesses in a text and offer alternatives. For this hymn, Gabriel’s original first stanza read:

I’m happy in Jesus, my Saviour, my King,
And all the day long of His goodness I sing,
To Him in my weakness I lovingly cling,
For He is so precious to me.

The truth is there, but the more recent version is fine too:

So precious is Jesus, my Saviour, my King;
His praise all the day long with rapture I sing.
To Him in my weakness for strength I can cling,
For He is so precious to me.

And one last example of Charles Gabriel’s work. At the beginning of the twentieth century, a cheerful old man named Ed Card was superintendent of the Sunshine Rescue Mission in St. Louis, Missouri. Ed was a radiant Christian who always seemed to be bubbling over with the joy of the Lord. His glowing smile earned him the nickname “Old Glory Face.”

During meetings at the mission, the one safety valve for all his pent up enthusiasm was the word “Glory!” (to him meaning “Wonderful!”). He often just exploded with it, in the middle of a sermon or a prayer. As author Ken Osbeck notes, “He praised the Lord, not with many words, but with one word repeated many times!” When he prayed, he would inevitably end with thoughts of meeting his Saviour in heaven, saying, “And that will be glory for me!”

Gabriel was a good friend of Mr. Card’s, and he wrote the hymn O That Will Be Glory (or Glory for Me)  in honour of the superintendent’s shining testimony. The old man had the privilege of singing Charles Gabriel’s hymn himself, just before he died. He was thrilled to think that his Christian life had been an inspiration to others.

When all my labours and trials are o’er,
And I am safe on that beautiful shore,
Just to be near the dear Lord I adore,
Will through the ages be glory for me.

O that will be glory for me,
Glory for me, glory for me,
When by His grace I shall look on His face,
That will be glory, be glory for me.


  1. Thanks. One of my favourite hymn tunes is the one for Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus by Geibel.

    • Much of the time I’ve ignored the music of our hymns in my writing, preferring to concentrate on the biblical themes in the text. But of course the tunes are significant. They can either provide a good frame for the picture (the words), or a distracting one. Geibel’s tune certainly fits the mood of “Stand Up for Jesus.”

  2. During the Christmas season many years ago I would listen to our chuch choir sing a most beautiful hymn called In Old Judea; composed by Adam Geibel.
    For years I have been searching records , tape and discs featuring that number. I even submitted a request to Lawrence Welk to think of including the song in his upcoming Xmas show. He was kind enough to acknowledge and thank me for my letter but informed me they have so many requests and usually they will honor the most requests for a individual number, In any case i finally received a disc from my daughter featurung the number by Michelle Capalbo. She has a great voice but the solo part would be better with a baritone voice. So, if any one is aware of the number sung by a choir I would please love to know. And if it is available on tape, disc or even an old vinyl record I sure would love to purchase it.

    • Wow! That is an obscure selection. I see the lyrics are here. But in about 40 years of solo work, and choral conducting, in addition to teaching and writing about sacred music, it’s one I’ve never come across. My usual resources failed me too.
      Sounds intriguing. Have you tried the chat room of Both Sides Now? It is specifically for folks looking for rare or unusual recordings, or information on obscure songs. If you register and write about your song, someone, somewhere, may be able to help you. Wish you well!

  3. Charles Gabriel used several pseudonyms, didn’t he? One, I think, was a woman’s name (!) — Charlotte G. Homer. I have seen it printed in Al Smith’s hymnal — “Living Hymns.”

    • Good to hear from you. Yes, Charles Hutchinson Gabriel used the pen name Charlotte G. Homer. But the Cyber Hymnal also lists two more: H. A. Henry, and S. B. Jackson. Interesting. I checked many different sources, and they only give the first of the three. But my friend Dick Adams, creator of the Cyber Hymnal, references a couple of sources that I don’t presently have in my library.

      And if you’ll excuse a brief “commercial”… With the arrival of fall, we begin to think of the Christmas season up ahead. If you do not have a good book on the subject of our Christmas carols, I encourage you to take a look at mine, Discovering the Songs of Christmas. In it, I discuss the history and meaning of 63 carols and Christmas hymns. The book is available through Amazon. (Might make a great gift too!)

  4. Looking for an old song by the name of, “In Old Judea.” Does anyone know where I can buy it? Lots of things on the websites, but no music to be found.

    • Don’t know if it’s what your looking for but “In old Judea amid the plains afar…” is #172 in the 1935 Roman Catholic book The Ordinary of the Mass and Complete Manual of Hymns for Parochia Schools. (Don’t know where a copy would be available.

  5. […] Wordwise Hymns The Cyber […]

  6. […] Wordwise Hymns (Charles Gabriel born, died) The Cyber […]


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