Hymns of Haden Laas

by Grant Huling

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    A publicly unfolding large-scale album, Gathered Hymns of Haden Laas will consist of thirty-three hymns and a mass. That takes time... In the mean time, enjoy this pressing of the first thirteen, the ones I recorded throughout New York church basements and released monthly beginning July 28th, 2014: Early Hymns of Haden Laas.

    As of December 2018, we have begun the second season. Watch this space for a new upload every month or so. The first thirteen hymns below are found on Early Hymns. They will NOT all appear on the final collection, Gathered Hymns of Haden Laas.

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At an estate sale, I came upon a bundle of handwritten scores. Hymns, on inspection -- signed by a Haden Laas. I took them home and learned them. Very little can be found on the author. The basic facts: Born August 22nd, 1899 in Kent, Connecticut; died April 21st, 1918 in France, during the Siege of Seicheprey. In between, the young man sketched hymns. There is no sign they have been performed.

These are my arrangements of Laas' music. The first batch, collected as Early Hymns of Haden Laas, was unveiled July 2014 to July 2015. The second season began December 2018.

Performance charts for piano, guitar, and choir: bit.ly/2lPZKUe

Interview with Earbuddy: www.earbuddy.net/55477/dancing-architecture-grant-valdes.html/columns

Audio scrapbook from my 2016 residency at Convento de Mértola: www.youtube.com/watch?v=fAa-CO3wDhc


released December 19, 2018

The collaborators:
Donald Keefe (donaldkeefe.com)
Rose Stark (rosestark.com)
Ittai Korman (ittaikormanbass.wordpress.com)
Karl Lyden (karllyden.com)
Alan Murchie
James Linehan
Alon Cohen

Recorded in New York City bedrooms and churches, July 2014 to July 2015. Resumed in Columbus, 2018.




Grant Huling Ohio

Host of the Quick to Listen podcast; bandleader of the Empty Mirror.

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Track Name: Even I
"Let there be light!"
And it was so
You spoke it from the night
Still is as good

Light of your word
Willing this world of God
He in the lowest crag and
Deepest heaven

Little I know
Still I attempt
Even the softest breath
Heard in heaven

Every light in every window of Him
and even I
Every home in every township of Him
and even I
Every soul beneath the sky beloved
and even I
All the light may fall upon is of Him
Yes, even I
Track Name: Pentecost
Veni, Sancte Spiritus et emite caelitus lucis tuae radium

(As below, so above. As above, so below.)

Fifty nights
From the rise
Gathered we
Of the faith
Mighty wind
Silent flame:

Spirit of Truth who art everywhere and fill all things

Sons and daughters, see the vision, dream the dream
Tongues of Fire, cleansing all impurity

Veni lux sacrum et beatissima

(As above, so below. As below, so above.)

Pressing in
Crowded 'round
From all lands
Through their tongue

Spirit of truth who art everywhere and fill all things

Tongues of fire, cleansing all impurity

Veni lux sacrum et beatissima
Lux beatissima!
Track Name: Our Sea of Trouble, Calm
Pray for rain in the springtime
That the summer may be green
Every season its purpose
Every purpose won't be seen

We tonight look surrounded
By a tempest of dark waves
In our hearts feel abandoned
Listing hours from the day

'Til our sea of trouble settles, calm
Look to God's horizon
Follow it on

As a boy in the clovers
Could you peer above the fence?
Still a world laid in waiting
When the time had come, you went

As the swells break over
Man the ropes
Holding to our blessed duty of hope

From the sea of high waters
That would overcome our cheer
We will make land tomorrow
Having settled every fear

And give praise to the maker
For He made us how we are
We were pale and unsteady
Now we journey wide and far

Ever follows peace after the storm
We are charted to our promised home
Off to God's horizon
Heave ho!
Track Name: Beatitudes/Lamblike
Shall not by bread alone
But by the word of God
Live true and righteously
Live everlastingly

Blessèd are the poor in sprit
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven
Blessèd are the hungering for
Righteousness, their reward

Shall not by bread alone
But by the word of God
Live true and righteously
Live everlastingly

Blessèd are the merciful ones
For they shall obtain their due mercy
Blessèd are the pure-hearted ones
Clear to them, mystery

Shall not by bread alone
But by the word of God
Live true and righteously
Live everlastingly

Blessèd are laborers at peace
Children of God known through the ages
Blessèd are they mourning the lost
They shall have reunion

Why can I not believe?
Why can I not believe?
Why can I not believe?
Why can I not believe?

Blesséd are the poor in spirit
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven
That He raises up the meekest

I would like to believe
Track Name: Tributes of the Magi
Following a star
Following a star

I love you, child
I love you
I follow, child
I follow

A gift of frankincense
Gift of frankincense

I love you, Lord
I love you
I follow, Lord
I do

This glimpse of innocence
Oh, I accept

I love you, God
I love you
I follow, God
I follow
We love you, God
We love you
We love you, Lord
We do
We love you, child

the verses quote

Micah 5:2
Psalm 16:10
Psalm 68:18
Jeremiah 23:5
Jeremiah 31:15
Isaiah 15:1
Track Name: Provide the Moment (of Completion)
I let out a long breath
I draw in the last speck

I wouldn't want it easier
It's good enough to be here

It's good enough
It's good enough to be
It is complete.
Track Name: I Need a New Hymn!
I need a new hymn
I need a new hymn
I made a new sin
Another day squandering

Sing from the mountaintop
Not into your sleeve
Let it breathe!

Oh, I'm aching to bend
My fate in these idling hands
So is there a friend
In this kingdom of make-pretend?

Fight to the pinnacle
And keep looking out
Past the doubt

Oh, little me

I'll leave it to Him
I'll leave it to Him
Pencil in hand
I'm listening

I'm eager to fold
I'm eager to fold, but
There's news to be told
Track Name: It Is a Narrow and Vertiginous Path
Further we scatter
Each man an unfamiliar crowd
Yes, and I was proud

(Long and narrow is the middle way)

Long have I wondered:
Am I ever long for this?
In my heart the stirring
Every step amiss

'Fess up, now
Step up, man
Lay it on the line

(I'll lay later. Let me when I...)
Track Name: Devotedly
He loves you, Haden...


Sing the word
Sing the word in sorrow
Sing the word
Sing the word in grace
Sing the will
Sing the will devotedly
Let it out, upon its grace

(You will pray in secret
Not as a hypocrite
Enter in the closet
Shut the door
You will pray in secret
He will know your heart and reward)

If this be what it be
Then this be what it be
I do accept it
Even though
Even though

You make me choose, my Lord
I would go by the sword
I stand devoted
To living in love
Love under will

He loves you
He loves you
He loves you even if

He loves you
He loves you
He loves you even if

He loves you
He loves you
He loves you even if

(God, I am so devoted)

A love in two
So be it

Track Name: A Little Morning Crawl
It was delicate and very small
And mostly bone
And the arm
Stuck out of the earth, there long alone
It wore a glove
Had worn a glove

Whiff of the cavalry
Europe at peace

The leather glove
The leather
Fingers raised and curved with an affect
The officer
Pleaded squeamishness and pinched his leg
To kill a fly
To kill a fly

Stink of the cavalry
Europe at peace
Track Name: Father, Within Thy Will
Father, behold! here I am
Simple servant of Thy dominion

Rising early to cleave the lightwood
Dreading each day the mountain's steady rise

Even Isaac, Father

Silent, I raise an altar
Isaac asking what lamb we offer

Father's silent and lawful answer
Steady, steady through fear and trembling

It will be provided
As you will it, Father
In Thy will
Track Name: Hasten
Take me
Take me
Take my doubt
I have worn it out

Shake me
Shake me
Shake my leaves
That the strong may breathe
Lay the rest at peace

Hasten what you know must come
Haven't started?
Get it done

Break me
Break me
Break me out
As a ray through clouds
With a sigh or a shout
Track Name: Psalm 113
This is no argument
There is no other
Kept it sacrosanct

Now, is there anybody on a sweeter high?
Show us anybody
Talking mind-to-mind

That he was born
He praised the Lord

(I've been to Lexington... I've been to Lexington)
(I've been to Bunker Hill... I've been to Bunker Hill)
(Dying for freedom)

Paint the leaf as fine
As the petal

Is an earthly body such a sacrifice?
I've sung in every key but
How I'm hearing life

He raised his sights
Track Name: As a Bride Adorned
I had a dream of the Great Beyond
That land behind the veil
I stood at the gates of the City
Where lustre & light do not pale
I saw an host of angels
A countless white-robed throng
And heard the voice of thousands
Swelling out the 'glad new song.'
For the gates of the city were opened
Not ajar, but flung open wide
And the ransomed stood to welcome
The souls who had crossed the tide


As a bride adorned
As a bride adorned
I have waited and prayed
For my gentle Groom
As a bride consumed
O, Jesu


Then I heard a muffled marching
Of a throng steadfast & bold
Drawing nearer the City gates
Nearer their crown of gold
And I saw earth's shattered legions
Armies of the nations slain
Pressing onward as a river
Free from hardships, strife & pain.

Through the high triumphal arches
To the courtyard of the King
Foes on earth but now as brothers
Death has levelled enemy's sting
Robes of white now veiled their bodies
Battered, torn by war's grim game
Faces that on earth were tortured
Now illumined bear his name.


Whatever God decides
As a bride adorned
I'm ready
I'm ready

As a bride adorned
As a bride adorned
I process to
And obey this death, to end our war
My brother
I love you


And I saw this vast host gathered
As the sheep when in the fold
Waiting for their Captain's welcome
There before the throne of gold
Then the heavenly music thundered
As the waves on rock bound shore
To the hymn the Angels chanted
Peace & rest for evermore.

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