Weyse composed songs to both Danish and German texts (he was born in Altona in Holsten, then still under the Danish crown), and his style reflects the prevailing early romantic idiom of the day. As a song composer he perhaps found his most personal voice in the two groups of songs (for voice and piano) to words by Bernhard Ingemann (1789-1862): the Morgensange for Børn (Morning Songs for Children) and Syv Aftensange (Seven Evening Songs), published in 1837 and 1838 respectively.
Lysets engel is from the Morgensange and is widely known in Denmark. My choral arrangement, made for Ars Nova Copenhagen and dedicated to my daughter Freya, retains the original piano harmonisation in its first and last verses, while gradually developing and varying ideas from it in the central verses. I am very grateful to James Manley for allowing us to use his excellent English translation. Choirs may want to sing this if they wish to avoid the struggle with Danish, a language whose colour and intonation are difficult for the foreigner to grasp (though no more so than English) — after seven years I am still trying. However, it must be said that the delicacy, transparency and expressive intensity of Ingemann’s verses do repay the effort.