Shower, O heavens, from above,
and let the clouds rain down righteousness;
let the earth open,
that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit;
let the earth cause them both to sprout;
I the Lord have created it.
Introit for the Fourth Sunday in Advent
Lutheran Divine Liturgy
I began this short Advent series with mention of Brahms’ setting of the Friedrich Spee 1622 paraphrasing of the text of the antiphon Rorate caeli. Brahms heard a motet setting of the Latin text by Max Bruch and in a letter to the composer in 1869 asked if he was familiar with the traditional melody. He went on, “I have by chance set an older German translation (which I much prefer) in the form of a Motet and Variations.” He was referring to his O Heiland reiß die HImmel auf Op 74 No2. (1863) which was published in 1879 along with another motet.