Dream Isaiah Saw
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Dream Isaiah Saw
'The Dream Isaiah Saw"
American hymn by Glenn L. Rudolph
GenreChristmas song
OccasionSermons on peace and Advent
Textby Thomas H. Troeger
Based onIsaiah 11:6-9
Composed30 September 2001 (2001-09-30)
PublishedOxford University Press, 2004
In memory of those who perished on September 11, 2001

The Dream Isaiah Saw is a contemporary classical choral Christmas song, commissioned by The Bach Choir of Pittsburgh and composed in 2001 by Glenn L. Rudolph to lyrics of 1994 hymn Lions and Oxen Will Feed in the Hay by Thomas H. Troeger. It has become a holiday favorite along with old traditional carols and Christmas songs.[1][2] The hymn has become a signature piece of the Washington Chorus and has been performed at John F. Kennedy Center for the Performance Arts.[3] The song has been independently released by many symphonic and college choirs. It is regularly performed by symphonic, college, church, and school choirs during Advent.[4]


In preparation for 2001 Christmas concert In Dulci Jubilo the Bach Choir of Pittsburgh led by Brady R. Allred commissioned five new holiday compositions. Glenn L. Rudolph, an active performer, conductor and composer in the Pittsburgh area since 1978, composed The Dream Isaiah Saw.[5] Rudolph was working on the piece when the attacks of September 11, 2001 took place. The Dream Isaiah Saw was finished nineteen days after 9/11 attacks and became a dedication to those who lost their lives in that tragedy. Rudolph said that the events of 9/11 had an impact on the music he wrote for the hymn.[6]

The Bach Choir of Pittsburgh and The Pittsburgh Symphony Brass first performed the song at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Upper St.Clair, Pennsylvania on Sunday, December 16, 2001.[5]


The lyrics of a hymn Lions and Oxen Will Feed in the Hay first appeared in the book by Thomas H. Troeger Borrowed Light: Hymn Texts, Prayers, and Poems published by Oxford University Press in 1994.[7] Thomas Troeger drew inspiration from the Book of Isaiah 11:6-9, an Old Testament book in the Bible by a Latter Prophet Isaiah.

Notable Performances and Acclaim

The Dream Isaiah Saw has become a popular song in many choir performances at Christmas in the United States and Australia. Christopher Bell, the Artistic Director and Conductor of The Washington Chorus, reported the experience of Washington Chorus Candlelight Christmas with the candles, the procession, and The Dream Isaiah saw "blew him away".[8] It is praised as one of the modern songs that stacks up well against the classics.[9] Critics have described it as intense, gripping, thrilling, haunting, catharticly climactic, packed with '' the biggest emotional punch, stunning to "bring audiences spontaneously to their feet", "bringing tears to the eyes"[10][11].[12][13]

The following choirs have recorded the song:

  • The Bach Choir of Pittsburgh and The Pittsburgh Symphony Brass (original performers). (2010). Cantate Hodie: Sing Forth This Day!
  • The Georgia Boy Choir. (2014) Georgia Boy Choir YouTube Channel.
  • Hickory Choral Society. (2013). Christmas Concert 2013. Celebrating 35 Years of Music.
  • The Indianapolis Symphonic Choir. (2014). Festival of Carols.
  • Messiah College Concert Choir. (2012). In Remembrance.
  • Millikin University Choir. (2015). Vespers 201: Sweet Music in the Night.
  • Oklahoma City University. (2017). Christmas Vespers.
  • The Washington Chorus. (2004). Christmas with the Washington Chorus.

In 2018 the Aspen Choral Society included the Dream Isaiah Saw in their 41st holiday performance of Handel's Messiah.[14]


Rudolph, Glenn L. (2004) The Dream Isaiah Saw. Vocal Score. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

See also

Book of Isaiah

Edward Hicks. Peaceable Kingdom.


  1. ^ Coyne, Jane (December 16, 2013). "'The Washington Chorus: A Candlelight Christmas' at The Kennedy Center". DC Metro Theater Arts. Retrieved 2019.
  2. ^ Moore, Michael (December 13, 2008). "Heaven on High" (PDF). Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia. Retrieved 2018.
  3. ^ McCoy, Patrick (December 24, 2016). "Perfect Pitch: A Candlelight Christmas". Washington Life Magazine. Retrieved 2019.
  4. ^ "The Dream Isaiah Saw". YouTube. Retrieved 2019.
  5. ^ a b Druckenbrod, Andrew (December 15, 2001). "Music Review: Bach Choir breaks the holiday mold". Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2018.
  6. ^ Karlovits, Bob (December 14, 2001). "New Bach Choir piece gets strength from Sept. 11 events". TribLive. Retrieved 2019.
  7. ^ Troeger, Thomas (1994). Borrowed Light: Hymn Texts, Prayers, and Poems. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0193859425.
  8. ^ "Prepare for the Unexpected: An Interview with Christopher Bell, Artistic Director and Conductor of The Washington Chorus". DC Metro Theater Arts. July 2, 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  9. ^ Malone, Andrew (December 17, 2007). "Classical Music. Washington Chorus". Washington Post. Retrieved 2019.
  10. ^ Meyers, Steven (June 14, 2002). "n.t.". Bedford Gazette.
  11. ^ MacRae, Nancy (May 14, 2004). "n.t.". Bedford Gazette.
  12. ^ Newton, Catherine (October 29, 2007). "Salt Lake Choir renders warm, emotional plea for peace" (PDF). The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 2019.
  13. ^ Haynes, Eric (December 10, 2005). "Concert Review: Brass Band, Bach Choir deliver robust concert". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2019.
  14. ^ Croskell, Chapman. (December 14, 2018). "A musical tradition of biblical proportions". Aspen Daily News. Retrieved 2018.

External Links

Porterfield, Eric. The Dream Isaiah Saw. Audio Sermon. December 4, 2016. Fifth Baptist Church, Huntington, West Virginia. Retrieved December 14, 2018.

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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