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Peter Clark

Lord Of The Years

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I take the point regarding poetry. It raises another question (which could provoke another debate!) - as to whether it is more important to maintain poetic quality or to emphasise where our focus should be - on God! I'd argue that the version with upbeats and the modified words makes more logical sense and hence leads to a more worshipful focus. It becomes a prayer asking God to "be" these things to us. Surely focussing on God is the point of any hymn?! I always find the version without upbeats awkward and stuttered anyway.

 

As for harmonies, I think it is Erik Routley who did the only decent harmony I have ever seen for Slane. It is the version which appears in Common Praise.

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My last post on the subject! I find that if I read aloud, say, the first verse as originally versified and the version in CP the "modern" version has a dreadfully banal rhythm in comparison.

 

Original, 1919 version:

Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart,

Naught be all else to me, save that thou art;

Thou my best thought in the day and the night,

Waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.

 

CP version:

Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart,

be all else but naught to me, save that thou art;

be thou my best thought in the day and the night,

both waking and sleeping, thy presence my light.

 

Stephen Barber

Ah! at last I see what you are on about. I had not understood because Rejoice and Sing, which we use in my Church, does have the version of the words that you prefer and accordingly we use the two different versions of Slane depending on whether the hymn is "Be thou my vision" or "Lord of all hopefulness".

JC

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I am a little puzzled. It may simply be wrong, but the companion to With One Voice (aka The Australian Hymnbook) seems to tell me that the version of Slane with upbeats is the original tune, and the version they use for Be Thou my Vision is adapted to the words by omitting them.

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I am a little puzzled. It may simply be wrong, but the companion to With One Voice (aka The Australian Hymnbook) seems to tell me that the version of Slane with upbeats is the original tune, and the version they use for Be Thou my Vision is adapted to the words by omitting them.

 

It's wrong.

 

SB

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Slane is said to be the tune to a folk song that originated in the eighteenth century, commemorating this event at the Hill of Slane: http://www.hymnnotes.blogspot.com - second item down. Is this folk song available anywhere on the web?

 

http://sniff.numachi.com/pages/tiBNKSBAN2;ttBNKSBAN2.html

 

Of course, it's a very different tune - especially as it begins begins on the 3rd beat of the bar. Had Percy Dearmer kept the opening upbeat his version would make more rhythmic sense to me. (Although still not acceptable for Be thou my vision)

 

Looking on Youtube, it seems to me that the version of Be thou my vision with added syllables is only sung in this country, certainly not in the USA. What about Australia & New Zealand?

 

I couldn't find a decent performance of it on Youtube but this one has a nice flow to it. would you really want to add upbeats and extra syllables to this?

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=627zCglxaMA

 

 

Stephen Barber

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What about Australia & New Zealand?

The Australian Hymnbook (With One Voice) has no upbeat for Be Thou my Vision, while including it for Lord of all Hopefulness.

 

Paul

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I most recently had to do this one on Remembrance Sunday, with a local amateur concert band that appears to have "insinuated" itself into the main service on that day each year - never mind that it makes our job as Organists more difficult... They position themselves in the North West corner of the Church, with absolutely no sightlines possible between them and the Chancel or them and the Main Organ console. Mindful of this, I provided their conductor with beat patterns for each hymn to ensure clean starts and stops of verses, and advised that all playovers would be given on the organ. (Whatever tempo we established, they would have to follow.)

 

Despite telling their conductor that I would play "Lord for the years" in 2 rather than in 4, which makes it deadly dull and difficult for singers to breathe properly (in my humble opinion), I found them coming adrift from me barely a line into the first verse - obviously they were doing it in 4!!!

 

Next year I'm asserting some authority: I'm happy to let them continue playing in that service in future, as it added an appropriate touch of grandeur to the occasion - but they'll be positioned where we say, and they'll be conducted by me with my Assistant at the organ throughout, like it or lump it...

 

After all, amateur concert bands are not the most experienced accompanists of congregational singing!

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My last post on the subject! I find that if I read aloud, say, the first verse as originally versified and the version in CP the "modern" version has a dreadfully banal rhythm in comparison.

 

Original, 1919 version:

Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart,

Naught be all else to me, save that thou art;

Thou my best thought in the day and the night,

Waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.

 

CP version:

Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart,

be all else but naught to me, save that thou art;

be thou my best thought in the day and the night,

both waking and sleeping, thy presence my light.

 

No-one brought up on the real thing, like everyone who grew up in the Church of Ireland, will settle for anything less.

 

The last line is the crux of the whole hymn, in my view, and I almost always used to diminuendo at this point to underline it and because it is so personal:

"Still be my vision, O Ruler of all."

replaced with: "Still be thou my vision................." Emphasis on the wrong word and the hymn ruined.

 

... Stephen Barber

 

Personally, I still prefer the altered version. It actually seems stronger in some respects. For example, the second line of the first verse is obscure, to say the least: 'Naught be all else to me, save that thou art;' I find it clearer in the altered version. However, as you say, it is a matter of choice. However, I would not accept that this is an example of 'dumbing-down'.

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Shurrly not, my dear Watson. Does that mean Mr Ravel also stole from the Kinght of the Realm (cf Bolero/Memory) and Mr Mendelssohn (cf slow mov't vln conc/I don't know how to love him)? Perhaps mr Lloyd Webber isn't as talented as we've all been led to believe.....

 

On the original matter, I actually quite like the stutter in the rhythm of the tune, though with two contrasting results. Yes, the church congregation never quite got it and did smooth over it a bit, but both my current and last school actually took to the rhythm very easily.

Has anyone else noticed that Franck uses "gotta pick a pocket or two" in his Andantino?

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Personally, I still prefer the altered version. It actually seems stronger in some respects. For example, the second line of the first verse is obscure, to say the least: 'Naught be all else to me, save that thou art;' I find it clearer in the altered version. However, as you say, it is a matter of choice. However, I would not accept that this is an example of 'dumbing-down'.

 

But have the editors the right to alter the metre completely? Especially since they don't even acknowledge that they have done so (in, for example, Common Praise). Eleanor Hull did NOT versify the hymn as printed and it seems to me to be disgraceful to print such a radically different version under her name.

 

Not dumbed down? As you say, a matter of opinion.

 

Stephen Barber

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Guest Roffensis

Or even

 

Beeee thou my veeesion, O Lord of my heart,

beeee all else but naught to meeee, save that thou art;

beeee thou my best thought eeeen the day and the neeeeght,

both waking and sleeeeping, thy presence my leeeeght.

 

 

:D

 

R

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Guest Roffensis
Has anyone else noticed that Franck uses "gotta pick a pocket or two" in his Andantino?

 

 

Not until now, but yes!!

 

Well spotted!

 

R

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