Organ Voluntary: Chorale Prelude on Cælestis Urbs Jerusalem – Flor Peeters (1913-1986)Cælestis urbs Jerusalem, Beata pacis visio, Quæ celsa de viventibus Saxis ad astra toleris, Sponsæque ritu cingeris Mille angelorum milibus Thou heavenly, new Jerusalem, Vision of peace in prophet’s dream! With living stones built up on high, And rising to yon starry sky; In bridal pomp thy form is crowned, Yea, with thousand, thousand angels round! Urbs beata Jerusalem dicta pacis visio Quæ construir in cælis vivis ex lapidibus Et angelis coronata ut sponsata comite. Blessed city of Jerusalem, called “vision of peace,” Built in heaven out of living stone And crowned by the angels like a bride for her consort.
Today’s organ voluntary is a chorale prelude based on the melody of the Gregorian hymn, “Cælestis Urbs Jerusalem.” The original text is anonymous and may date from as early as the 6th century of the Christian era. Originally, the text (see above) was “Urbs beata Jerusalem,” but was altered under Pope Urban VIII (1568-1644) by a group of correctors. In its original form (see above), it was later translated and adapted by hymn writer and Anglican priest, John Mason Neale (1818-1866) and appears in The Hymnal 1982 as #519, “Blessed city, heavenly Salem.” The composer of the voluntary was Flor Peeters (1913-1986), a renowned Belgian composer and teacher of organ music.