Mormon Tabernacle Choir Blog

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“Be Still, My Soul”: Mack Wilberg’s Peaceful Arrangement 

“Be Still, My Soul,” was written by Katharina von Schlegal (1697–1768) and was originally written in German, titled “Stille, mein Wille, dein Jesus hilft siegen.” The music was composed by Johann (Jean) Julius Christian Sibelius, who was born in Finland in 1865. The hymn was added to the hymnal of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1985.

Author Karen Lynn Davidson explained, “Katharina von Schlegal is a woman about whom little is known. She probably dedicated herself to a religious life in the protestant equivalent of a convent setting. One fact is certain: She knew her scriptures well, both the Old and the New Testaments. In her hymn, she wove together in a creative and remarkable way a whole series of scriptural themes and references to biblical events” (Our Latter-Day Hymns: The Stories and the Messages [1988], 166).

Mormon Tabernacle Choir music director Mack Wilberg, made a new arrangement of “Be Still, My Soul” in the early 2000s, of which the Choir performs frequently. The arrangement features interludes which use the combination of solo flute and cor anglais, giving the hymn a sweet and unique sound. Wilberg’s arrangement was sung at the funeral services for Marjorie Pay Hinckley, the wife of former president of the Church, Gordon B. Hinckley, and also appears on the Choir’s 2004 album Peace Like a River.

Watch the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square perform “Be Still, My Soul” from a 2016 episode of Music and the Spoken Word.

Be Still, My Soul (Lyrics)

Be still, my soul: The Lord is on thy side;
With patience bear thy cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In ev'ry change he faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: Thy best, thy heav'nly Friend
Thru thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: Thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as he has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: The waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while he dwelt below.

Be still, my soul: The hour is hast'ning on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: When change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.