This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the German Wikipedia. (April 2014)
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The first verse also appears to be based on Psalm 137 in which people of Judah are bemoaning their captivity in Babylon. Their captors had required them to sing some of their songs from their glory days. To which their reply in verse 4 was, "How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?"
The composer Arvo Pärt wrote a symphony, his 1977 Symphony no. 3, that utilizes the melody and expresses the millenarian (or even apocalyptic) theme of the text. He also wrote seven Magnificat Antiphons, which were essentially the German texts of the hymn set to a variety of arrangements. The first movement of George Dyson's 1949 Concerto da Chiesa uses the theme as a basis for the first movement. U2's song White as Snow from its 2009 release No Line on the Horizon takes its tune directly from the hymn.