What I'm Reading Now: 12 December 17

No, I haven't read anything this week.

I have, however, been doing some research. It occurred to me that I could do a little browsing through the connected tubes we call the internet to see if I could find out anything about this CE Leflie who is listed as the author of "Der Friedensfürst." Now, "Der Friedensfürst" is to Russian Mennonites (who still have some German within living memory) what the Hallelujah Chorus is to... well, practically any other congregation with a strong choral tradition. It is the song one sings to celebrate Christmas, and a rousing number it is, too.

I did some work with it, resetting it in a music-writing program for transposability, and adding my mother-in-law's translation of the German to it. My brilliant sister pointed out, once given the music to proofread, that I could well be misreading the author's name, and wasn't it just slightly more likely that it was "Leslie," not "Leflie"? So with that bit of information, I was off.

A variety of internet searches later, I have amassed the following information: the author is indeed Leslie, one Charles Eddy Leslie, who taught music in Chicago and put together a truly stupendous mass choir in Kansas (1100+ voices per part!). He also published a variety of sacred and secular music pieces, mostly in the 1880's and 1890's. He did indeed publish a work called "The prince of peace," in something called "Leslie's Service of Song" #3.

There my research comes to an end. I have not been able to actually view the music for "The prince of peace," and I haven't located a library that has it in its collection. However, as soon as I do, I will be contacting them to inquire if a reproduction of that music might be available, and if not, if someone could take pity on me and at least look at the music and send me the lyrics.

I have one other path to research. Leslie wrote in English, so who translated it, and how and when did it get into the hands of Russian Mennonites? I suspect it was appropriated and translated for some Gesangbuch or other, and now is firmly entrenched. I do know that "Der Friedensfürst" is in the newest edition of the Gesangbuch, so it might be an idea to contact someone who was on the publishing committee...

*wanders off, humming "horch! die engelchöre singen!" to herself*


"Dir, o mächt’ger Friedensfürst,
 Du Heiland aller Welt!"

(Yes, I got it in my head too. Hooray!)