View from Violet Hill

by Norah Long

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This is my Father’s world, and to my list’ning ears, all nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres. This is my Father’s world! I rest me in the thought of rocks and trees, of skies and seas; His hand the wonders wrought. This is my Father’s world; the birds their carols raise – the morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker’s praise. This is my Father’s world. He shines in all that’s fair; in the rustling grass I hear Him pass. He speaks to me ev’rywhere. This is my Father’s world! Oh, let me ne’er forget that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet. This is my Father’s world! Why should my heart be sad? “The Lord is King,” let the heavens ring! God reigns – let earth be glad!
Come, Thou fount of every blessing! Tune my heart to sing Thy praise! Streams of mercy never ceasing call for songs of loudest praise! Teach me some melodious sonnet sung by flaming tongues above – Praise His name! I’m fixed upon it – name of God’s redeeming love. Hitherto Thy love has blessed me; Thou hast brought me to this place, And I know Thy hand will lead me safely home by Thy good grace. Jesus sought me when a stranger wand’ring from the fold of God; He to rescue me from danger bought me with His precious blood. O, to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be. Let thy goodness like a fetter bind my wand’ring heart to Thee! Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it – prone to leave the God I love. Here’s my heart; o take, and seal, it – seal it for Thy courts above.
I want to live in a Lord-built house – want to live in a Lord-built house! Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Don’t want to live in a man-built house with a structure built on sin – Brightly painted shutters and doors, and all decayed within. Don’t want to live in a man-made house with a man-made light inside – The storms blow in and the power goes out and the man in fear must hide! I want to live in a Lord-built house, with a structure built on love, With the rock foundation under me and the Heavenly Father above! I want to live in a Lord-built house – want to live in a Lord-built house!
Every man and every woman drops to earth on an angel’s wing Ripe with love and soft with mercy, full of God’s own song to sing. Then we learn our mother’s sorrow; then we learn our father’s fear. Schools of rage and bleeding nations, and our angels disappear. We all ride down the river of time, and it’s easy to see every sin and every crime, But the hard thing, the wise thing, to try (oh, yes) is kindness, kindness, kindness. You can sell your life’s possessions, you can give away your gold, You can spend a bitter winter walking barefoot in the cold; But if you still hate your brother, if you aim a pointed spear, Then you’ll never hear your angel when he whispers in your ear. We all ride down the river of time, and it’s easy to see every sin and every crime, But the hard thing, the wise thing, to try (oh, yes) is kindness, kindness, kindness.
When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll, Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, “It is well; it is well with my soul.” My sin – o the bliss of this glorious thought! – my sin, not in part but the whole, Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more! Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, o my soul! And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight – the clouds be roll’d back as a scroll, The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend: “Even so!” It is well with my soul! It is well with my soul. It is well; it is well with my soul.
A mighty fortress is our God – a bulwark never failing! Our helper, He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing. For still, our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe; His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate, on earth is not his equal. Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing, Were not the right man on our side – the man of God’s own choosing. You ask who that may be? Christ Jesus! It is He! Lord Sabbaoth His name, from age to age the same – and He must win the battle. And though this world with devils filled should threaten to undo us, We will not fear, for God has willed his Truth to triumph through us! The prince of darkness grim, we tremble not for him! His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure. One little word shall fell him! That Word above all earthly powers (no thanks to them) abideth! The Spirit and the Gift are ours through Him who with us sideth. Let goods and kindred go; this mortal life also. The body they may kill – God’s truth abideth still. His kingdom is forever! A mighty fortress is our God!
Be Thou my vision, o Lord of my heart; naught be all else to me, save that Thou art. Thou my best thought by day or by night; waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light. Riches I need not, nor man’s empty praise. Thou mine inheritance, now and always. Thou and Thou only first in my heart; High King of Heaven, my treasure Thou art. High King of Heaven, my victory won, may I reach heaven’s joys, o Bright Heaven’s Sun! Heart of my own heart! Whatever befall, still be my vision, o Ruler of All.
There’s a land that is fairer than day, and by faith we can see it afar, For the Father waits over the way to prepare us a dwelling place there. In the sweet by and by, we shall meet on that beautiful shore. We shall sing on that beautiful shore the melodious songs of the blest; And our spirits shall sorrow no more – not a sigh for the blessing of rest. To our bountiful Father above we will offer our tribute of praise For the glorious gift of His love, and the blessings that hallow our days.
Amazing, grace (how sweet the sound!) that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found; was blind, but now I see. ‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved. How precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed. Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come; ‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home. When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright, shining as the sun, We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we’ve first begun.
Talk about a child who do love Jesus – here’s one. Here’s one. Ever since I heard the gospel story, I been walkin’ up the road to glory. Talk about a child who’s been converted – here’s one. Here’s one. Talk about a child who’s been forgiven – here’s one. Here’s one.
Oh, Lord, my God, when I in awesome wonder consider all the worlds Thy hands have made – I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder (Thy power throughout the universe displayed) – Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee: “How great Thou art! How great Thou art!” When through the woods and forest glades I wander, I hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees; When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur, and hear the brook, and feel the gentle breeze, Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee: “How great Thou art! How great Thou art!” When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation and take me home, what joy shall fill my heart! Then I shall bow in humble adoration, and there proclaim, “My God, how great Thou art!” Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee: “How great Thou art! How great Thou art!”
Why should I feel discouraged? Why should the shadows come? Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heav’n and home, When Jesus is my portion? My constant Friend is He: For His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me. I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free! For His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me. “Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender words I hear. And resting on His promise, I lose my doubt and fear. Though on the path He leads me, just one step I may see: For His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.
When Earth's last picture is painted and the tubes are twisted and dried, When the oldest colours have faded, and the youngest critic has died, We shall rest, and, faith, we shall need it -- lie down for an aeon or two, Till the Master of All Good Workmen shall set us to work anew! And those that were good shall be happy: they shall sit in a golden chair; They shall splash at a ten-league canvas with brushes of comets' hair; They shall find real saints to draw from -- Magdalene, Peter, and Paul; They shall work for an age at a sitting and never be tired at all! And only the Master shall praise us, and only the Master shall blame; And no one shall work for money, and no one shall work for fame; But each for the joy of the working, and each, in his separate star, Shall draw the Thing as he sees It for the God of Things as They Are!


"View From Violet Hill" is musical “comfort food” of the church, but with a new twist, a sparkle of freshness and excitement.

Five of the songs are new arrangements of traditional tunes, including Norah's original and powerhouse mixed-meter rendition of "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God," and one song is an entirely new piece: a setting of Rudyard Kipling’s poem, “When Earth’s Last Picture Is Painted,” written in honor of Norah's grandmother.

This album also includes the premiere recording of a song by Jamie Bernstein Thomas, Leonard Bernstein’s daughter. Jamie wrote what she calls “Kindness3” in honor of her parents, and it was performed the year of her father’s death, at his memorial concert in NYC. Jamie generously gave Norah permission to arrange it for solo voice and record it here for the first time.


released January 1, 2010

Produced by Norah Long and Matt Patrick
Engineered and Mixed by Matt Patrick
Assistant Engineering by Aaron Fabbrini
Mastered by Greg Reierson for
Recorded at the Library recording studio, Minneapolis MN, and on location at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, Mahtomedi MN


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Norah Long Minneapolis, Minnesota

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