Hymns of Haden Laas
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 that they have been performed."
I adapted, recorded, and uploaded one hymn per month from July 2014 to July 2015. These are collected on Early Hymns of Haden Laas.
The project has resumed.
Will Laas kill? Written from the trenches.
Released January 2020.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. Life finds a way.
John 3:16. Released December 2019.
And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. A vision of brotherhood at last, as enemy soldiers process into the afterlife.
"A Vision" by Allick Ellis & Revelation 21:2. Released December 2018.
Who is like the Lord our God, the one who sits enthroned... An expression of serene gratitude to the Creator. Laas loves worldly life but ponders whether sacrifice in the Great War isn't his duty.
Psalm 113. Released July 2015.
Hasten, O God, to save me. The young man senses his frailty and thirsts to grow.
Psalm 70. Released June 2015.
Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, "Father?" The Father commands the father, who commands...
Genesis 22. Released May 2015.
Laas had read a haunting letter from the front by Duff Cooper, reflecting on it in his journal. The letter is set here to an instrumental sketch from Laas.
Released April 2015.
But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet... A torn young man keeps his conflict to himself, fully articuated only in a hymn heard only by God.
Matthew 6:6. Released March 2015.
Enter ye in at the strait gate... Laas senses he has grown nearer to God. Is this owing to his own tenuous discipline, or to grace?
Matthew 7:13. Released February 2015.
Laas believed that idle hands did the Devil's work. Here, a journal entry (March 10th, 1916) is incorporated into an earlier Laas hymn.
Released January 2015.
A meditative hymn in which Laas seemed to foresee his own death.
Released December 2014.
"Go! Make a careful search for the Child." A piece portraying the bliss of the nativity and how confused the world felt before it.
Matthew 2. Released December 2014.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy... Near the end of this simple recounting of the Sermon on the Mount, Laas admits to some doubts.
Matthew 5. Released November 2014.
He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. A cheerful shanty, accepting of life's labors.
Psalm 107:29. Released October 2014.
And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost... Laas was enthralled with the notion of the Holy Spirit, that God could communicate directly to any remote soul.
Acts 2:4. Released September 2014.
And God said, Let there be light; and there was light. Laas accepts that he is part of God's creation.
Genesis 1:3. Released July 28th, 2014.