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Honneur a Toi – Song in Honor of St. John Baptist de La Salle

This hymn is sung by Brothers and others to honor St. John Baptist de La Salle on celebratory occasions. See the resources for it below.

Honneur a Toi was first printed in in Recueil de Cantiques Anciens et Nouveaux (1889 edition).  It was one of two hymns composed to mark the beatification of John Baptist de La Salle in 1888:  “Honneur a Toi” [Honor to You] and “Veritable Ami de l’Enfance” [True Friend of the Young].

The author of the text of “Veritable” was Brother Idelphus, FSC, a well known translator from Spanish of the poems of Theresa of Avila and John of the Cross. He was chapel master At Passy.  And that the composer of the music was Brother Albert des Anges, FSC, successor to Brother Leonce as chapel master at Passy, who authored a large number of hymns and wrote almost all of the accompaniments of the 1889 collection.  Both Brothers were commissioned by the superiors to revise the texts and musical settings for the 1889 edition of Recueil de Cantiques Anciens et Nouveaux.

According to Br. Edwin, a French Brother who provided the history of the song in 1991 to a Belgian confrere via a letter, “It would be hard to believe that the authors of the  Honneur a Toi were not these two contributors”

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A Little More Information

Melody Links Below

Simple Melody - One Verse

This is the simple melody of the hymn and includes just the first verse. It is the version that usually sung in public at celebratory festivities. All the words are below or HERE.

Honneur à toi, glorieux de La Salle, Apôtre des enfants et gardien de leur foi; Vainqueur de l’ignorance, à l’âme si fatale, Honneur à toi! Honneur à toi!
1) O toi que les élus comme nous applaudissent Et chantent, triomphant dans les parvis du ciel, Pour exalter ta gloire, ici nos voix s’unissent. Avec transport au cantique éternel.
2) Tu fus compagnon des esprits angéliques, Qui gardent le jeune âge, encore dans sa fleur, Et voient toujours briller les éternels portiques. Où de Dieu même apparaît la splendeur.
3) Tandis que, vigilant, tu prends soin des écoles, Sur l’aile de la foi tu voles jusqu’aux cieux; Pour Dieu luttant sans cesse, aux mêmes tu t’immoles. Vaillant héros, à jamais glorieux!
4) Le peuple des enfants pour patron te réclame; Les maîtres t’ont nommé leur guide et leur docteur, Et tous, en t’invoquant, espèrent pour leur âme Secours et force, ô puissant Protecteur!

Simple Melody - Four Verses (with two new verses for 2019)

This version of the hymn includes two new verses - written by Br. Jean-Paul Baraton, FSC - on the occasion of the tricentenary of the St. John Baptist de La Salle death and entry into God's presence.

Organ Accompaniment Links Below

Paul Manz - Organ Accompaniment

Paul Manz - Organ Prelude

This accompaniment, along with the organ prelude, was written by Paul Manz as a gift to Brother George Van Grieken, FSC, who had attended one of his workshops in the 1980's and developed a close friendship with Paul and his wife.


Br. Martin Yribarren, FSC - Organ Accompaniment

Brother Martin Yribarren, FSC, is a professor of music and organist at Saint Mary's College of California.


Br. Albert des Anges, FSC - Piano or Organ Accompaniment

This is a traditional accompaniment that comes from an old book of hymns written for and by the Brothers

Choral Arrangement Links Below

Deke Sharon Setting 1

This SATB setting for the hymn was commissioned by Br. George Van Grieken, FSC, in 1999 for choirs in Lasallian institutions, It was written in such a way that a choir could sing "around" the main melody being sung by a larger group (such as the students). A second composition was commissioned in 2010, but this time for choirs alone. For that version, Deke chose to place the melody within a challenging rhythmic context and rich harmonic style.


Deke Sharon Setting 2

This SATB setting for the hymn was commissioned by Br. George Van Grieken, FSC, in 2010 for choirs in Lasallian institutions. The setting of the melody lies within a challenging rhythmic context and rich harmonic style. An earlier commission in 1999 was written in such a way that a choir could sing “around” the main melody being sung by a larger group (such as the students).


 

Video Recording Links Below

Part of Cartoon "Frere"

The hymn is sung near the end of this excerpt from the movie-length cartoon about the life of Saint John Baptist de La Salle that was created by De La Salle – College of Saint Benilde in the Philippines in 2011. There is also a graphic novel of the same name. The hymn is sung is a more fast-paced manner.

Large Group Harmonized

This version is more medium-paced and includes harmonization within parts of the song.

Large Group Harmonized with Solo Verses

This version of the hymn is much slowed down, and harmonized. The verses are sung by a strong solo voice, wherein the words can be clearly heard.