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David Rogers

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I fail to see what is wrong with the words of "All things b & B" - it's a hymn for children and goes through various wonders of nature - "God made them all". What on earth is wrong with that? It does NOT say that All things are beautiful; but those that are - God made them. The one objectionable verse (the rich man in his castle etc.) is not in any hymn book nowadays.

 

It amazes me that adult congregations sing so many children's hymns these days: Once in Royal, O little town of Bethlehem, It is a thing most wonderful, There is a green hill, etc. All for children, not to be solemnly sung by adults. I wouldn't expect a hymn for little Sunday School children to be full of weighty theology, myself.

 

I also don't see what is wrong with the versification of St Patrick's Breastplate. Wonderful words, I think, and probably give a flavour of the original, although I know no Irish.

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Since several of us have touched on the topic of children's hymns, sometimes sung by adults, one indeed wonders what children themselves make of them. Growing up in the 1940's I was convinced, with others around me, that "Fight the good fight" was an exhortation to beat Hitler. That belief was strengthened by liberal doses of "Jerusalem" and "Onward Christian Soldiers". We didn't pick up our swords of burnished gold, since we didn't have any, but we did run out into the playground after Assembly enthusiastically brandishing our toy Spitfires and making aggressive zooming noises.

 

Graham Dukes

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I find SLANE the most miserable of tunes!

 

A

It certainly is if paired with the dreadful harmony offered by the Mayhew hymn books. However, I find Dr. Erik Routley's harmony in NEH to be pretty sublime and it helps lift the tune a number of notches.. That is a talent shared with RVW who could breathe new life into a saggy old tune through the provision of both skill and art.

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'Forth in thy name, O Lord I go' never leaves me feeling inspired at the end of a service, probably because I dislike the Gibbons tunes (several of which find rather dull).

À chacun son goût. Gibbons' Song 34 is a tune I like very much. I find it comes to life rhythmically when performed with a minim pulse (as notated in NEH) for the first line of the text, then a dotted minim pulse for the remaining lines. I am in agreement with basses who prefer to omit the slur towards the end of the second line.

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Since several of us have touched on the topic of children's hymns, sometimes sung by adults, one indeed wonders what children themselves make of them. Growing up in the 1940's I was convinced, with others around me, that "Fight the good fight" was an exhortation to beat Hitler. That belief was strengthened by liberal doses of "Jerusalem" and "Onward Christian Soldiers". We didn't pick up our swords of burnished gold, since we didn't have any, but we did run out into the playground after Assembly enthusiastically brandishing our toy Spitfires and making aggressive zooming noises.

 

Graham Dukes

 

 

====================================

 

 

What a marvellous reminder of childhood. Still a talking point between us, was the time I threw my elder brother's balsawood Wellington Bomber into a bath full of water, loudly singing "The dambuster's march" by Eric Coates.

 

I made it worse by cupping my hands over my mouth to imitate war-time radio, "Tango to leader, tango to leader. Charlie's in the drink...repeat....Charlie's in the drink."

 

He still hates me.....I can tell.

 

MM

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=============================

 

 

Same tune; different words.

 

It is the "Lourdes hymn" essentially, but there is a longer version, which is the one you quote I believe.

 

You know what these 19th century Catholics were like......but who can blame them after being banned for so long?

 

Anyway, this is the version I had in mind:-

 

Immaculate Mary, your praises we sing.

You reign now in Heaven with Jesus our King.

 

Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria!

 

In Heaven the blessed your glory proclaim;

On earth we your children invoke your sweet name.

 

Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria!

 

We pray for our Mother, the Church upon earth,

And bless, Holy Mary, the land of our birth.

 

Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria! Ave, Ave, Ave, Maria!

 

 

If we sing the extended version, I think we chop some of the verses.....it's a while since we had it, and my hymn book is att back to schooldays church.

 

MM

 

 

That takes me right back to schooldays!

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I loved the "God is good to me" words from 'jonadkins'; It reminds me of another "hymn" that was quoted by someone else in this forum during a similar discussion in times past; "Drop-kick me, Jesus, through the goal posts of life".

 

Now, that would be most satisfying to accompany.

 

Shortly after my wife and I arrived in the village where now we live, we went to our local church to attend Harvest Festival. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that one of the hymns included the line "Who put the hump upon the camel?" Fortunately someone noticed the error on the hymn board before my dear wife could carry out her threat of frog marching me out of the church.

 

David Harrison

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I loved the "God is good to me" words from 'jonadkins'; It reminds me of another "hymn" that was quoted by someone else in this forum during a similar discussion in times past; "Drop-kick me, Jesus, through the goal posts of life".

 

Now, that would be most satisfying to accompany.

 

Shortly after my wife and I arrived in the village where now we live, we went to our local church to attend Harvest Festival. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that one of the hymns included the line "Who put the hump upon the camel?" Fortunately someone noticed the error on the hymn board before my dear wife could carry out her threat of frog marching me out of the church.

 

David Harrison

 

==========================

 

It's when I read of things like this, and other delights, that I begin to regard Bingo and X-factor as intellectually stimulating.

 

MM

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The answer's very simple: give up and let them get on with it.

 

Malcolm

This is really the only sensible solution. Unfortunately I need the money so I continue to prostitute myself.

 

I am loathe to nominate my pet hates because His Nibs inflicts new ones on us almost weekly. At Easter I thought we had reached the bottom of the barrel with an excruciating piece of drivel entitled "See what a morning, gloriously bright" ("Welcome to one of the most popular twenty-first-century hymns!" I was told, though I've not yet found anyone else who knows it), but that was soon topped at Whitsun by "O God of burning, cleansing flame", whose first line positively begs you to respond "ee-i-ee-i-oh". By verse three I was really itching to punch someone on the nose:

 

"It's fire we want, for fire we plead:

Send the fire!

The fire will meet our every need:

Send the fire today!

For strength to always do what's right

And set this silly song alight..."

 

Alright, I made the last line up - but why do we have to suffer such "Janet and John" doggerel with its associated "Janet and John" music? There are some good modern hymns out there (not least by the Freds Kaan and Pratt Green and Tim Dudley-Smith), but so much of this stuff I just find patronising. However, when I showed the example above to my wife, who is far more up in these things, she merely said, "Oh, there's a lot worse than that out there, I can tell you." Sadly, I have no doubt she's right.

 

I loved the "God is good to me" words from 'jonadkins'; It reminds me of another "hymn" that was quoted by someone else in this forum during a similar discussion in times past; "Drop-kick me, Jesus, through the goal posts of life".

Get your brown paper bag ready, David:

 

I gather the same singer was responsible for another little number entitled "I've been roped and thrown by Jesus in the Holy Ghost Corral".

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That takes me right back to schooldays!

 

That's just taken me back and reminded me that whenever we sang:

 

...I, ere I sleep,

At peace may be

 

I hadn't a clue what I was singing about, probably because I had never heard the second word before.

 

I never read the words - it was just singing parrot fashion at my school - so I thought the word was 'air'.

 

I always liked the tune, though!

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There is a green hill far away

Without a city wall ...

 

So why does a hill need a city wall round it? To keep out the appalling theology which follows those lines?

----------------------------------------

 

God rest ye, merry gentlemen ...

 

Sorry, try again as it is NOT usually sung

 

God rest ye merry, gentlemen ...

 

-----------------------------------------

..........

My chains fell off .....

 

Known to Methodists as "the cyclist's hymn", it's not at all bad, but it begins

 

And can it be that I should gain ...

 

My infant school teacher would have explained to Charles Wesley that you can't begin a sentence with the word "And". She wouldn't have approved of "And did those feet ..." either.

 

The Methodists published a small booklet of temperance hymns, but at least these were once in great demand by Cambridge students to sing as drinking songs.

 

We no longer have one of Wesley's finest which begins

 

O blessed appearance of death

No pageant on earth is as fair

Nothing else on earth

Can with a dead body compare ...

 

an anticipation of the popular song of 1933, "Ain't it grand to be blooming well dead... "

 

-----------------------

Only a communist infiltrator could have set

God bless our native land ... to the tune "Moscow".

 

-----------------------

 

The first hymn that I learned was:-

 

Gentle Jesus, meek and mild

Look upon a little child,

Pity my simplicity ...

 

Now that was patronising, but it went on

Fain I would to Thee be brought

but we never found out what this "fain" was that we were supposed to be bringing.

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'O God of burning cleansing flame' is an old Salvation Army hymn by William Booth. It's not even particularly modern.

 

I do know 'See what a morning' - it's a Stuart Townend number. He is of course most famous for 'In Christ alone' which is very well-known principally for the line 'the wrath of God was satisfied' and the penal subsitution theology. I don't object to this hymn as a whole and think its quite well-written, and our vicar has us sing 'the love of God was satisfied' instead. I don't feel strongly about penal substitution because I haven't explored the theological debates enough yet to come to a conclusion one way or the other - one day perhaps I will. Townend's 'The Lord's my shepherd' isn't too bad - it has a chorus with a nice little descant.

 

I've been at a friend's wedding today and they had a worship band (they're from the opposite end of the spectrum to me church-wise - to be fair, they had an evangelical preacher there who spoke well and for only 9 minutes - a wedding isn't exactly the occasion for a long address anyway). Not only was 'Be thou my vision' changed to 4/4 time, they also did it to 'To God be the glory' which in my view swings along very nicely in 3/4. Why do worship bands object to hymns in triple time? We also had an outing for 'Amazing Grace', which I've mentioned above - I'd love someone to write some music which does those words justice.

 

I've done the whole worship band thing and have been to Spring Harvest half a dozen times, but on the last occasion I realised that it had all lost its meaning to me. I do think there are a few good worship songs kicking around out there but many are just very samey. At my last Spring Harvest a few years ago, they sung a very cringeworthy effort which had the chorus 'I'm a friend of God - wo-o-oh' - what the last 'noise' added to the song I don't know. There are a number of other pet hates I have with worship bands. For one thing, I get very frustrated when worship leaders feel the need to incessantly repeat parts of a song - I found Graham Kendrick was particularly bad at this. There was a time when I used to enjoy that style of worship, but I've just lost all interest and enthusiasm.

 

By the way, I've just thought of another hated song - 'Bind us together, Lord' - really dreary and depressing. Another I haven't chosen since I've done a hymn list.

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What do people think about 'modernising' the words to a hymn. I hate it - surely we all know and love the traditional words as they are? Here are some examples from the Canadian Anglican Hymn book 'Common Praise'.

 

How about these: 'Your hand oh God has guided' and 'Your's be the glory'

 

And how about this one:

 

'God, my hope on you is founded, you my faith and trust renew, through all change and chance you guide me, only good and only true. God unknown, you alone, call my heart to be your own'

 

Shocking! How to totally butcher a 17th Century text. If you don't want to sing old fashioned words - why not do something contemporary instead. It seems a crime to me that the original words were altered so heavily in this hymn, particularly the second line which is a dogs breakfast as far as eloquent use of the language is concerned. On top of that - the book isn't consistent with old language retained in other places. I do hope that this will be updated someday, and the original text resurrected.

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What do people think about 'modernising' the words to a hymn. I hate it - surely we all know and love the traditional words as they are? Here are some examples from the Canadian Anglican Hymn book 'Common Praise'.

 

How about these: 'Your hand oh God has guided' and 'Your's be the glory'

 

And how about this one:

 

'God, my hope on you is founded, you my faith and trust renew, through all change and chance you guide me, only good and only true. God unknown, you alone, call my heart to be your own'

 

Shocking! How to totally butcher a 17th Century text. If you don't want to sing old fashioned words - why not do something contemporary instead. It seems a crime to me that the original words were altered so heavily in this hymn, particularly the second line which is a dogs breakfast as far as eloquent use of the language is concerned. On top of that - the book isn't consistent with old language retained in other places. I do hope that this will be updated someday, and the original text resurrected.

 

 

Yes - there's a special circle in Hell reserved for the perpetrators of these. Fortunately, we use the 1938 book, which has its faults (too many mawkish ditties) but is at least textually acceptable. We're supposed to use the new book for diocesan services but we don't. If challeneged, I would say that to print texts from the new book would be a breach of copyright.....

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'O God of burning cleansing flame' is an old Salvation Army hymn by William Booth. It's not even particularly modern.

True, but that doesn't excuse it! <_<

 

I do know 'See what a morning' - it's a Stuart Townend number.

Yes, I know - and he wasn't well served by his arranger, was he? How crass is that ugly, thumping doubled third at the half-way point between the bass and the tune. I have to assume that Townend just makes up his tunes in his head and leaves someone else to turn it all into dots on the page. "In how deep the Father's love" either he, or Mayhew, or both clearly don't know the difference between 6/4 and 3/2 and haven't a clue about how to bar their choice correctly to fit the metre. A pity, because once all this is adjusted and the tune judiciously re-harmonised to make it less harmonically tautologous, it actually becomes quite presentable.

 

Why do worship bands object to hymns in triple time?

Because your average drummer can't drum in triple time.

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And can it be that I should gain ...

 

My infant school teacher would have explained to Charles Wesley that you can't begin a sentence with the word "And". She wouldn't have approved of "And did those feet ..." either.

 

 

=============================

 

This is why your infant school teacher was an infant school teacher.

 

You can, and indeed may, start a sentence with "and"....there is no rule against beginning with a conjunct.

 

However (note the conjunct), it should properly be used in a literary way to add impact; especially in writing plays and dialogue.

 

"I see that the vicar wants to throw the organ out."

 

"Does he? He's a very strange man."

 

"And I'll tell you something else........" (etc)

 

 

But I feel that I am digressing from the awfulness of word usage in modern worship songs. <_<

 

MM

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Because your average drummer can't drum in triple time.

 

 

=========================

 

Absolutely right, but with practice, an organist can play a "Jazz waltz" and show them up for what they are.

 

MM

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What do people think about 'modernising' the words to a hymn.

John Wesley wrote, “Many Gentlemen have done my brother and me (though without naming us) the honour to reprint many of our hymns. Now they are perfectly welcome to do so, provided they print them just as they are. But I desire that they would not attempt to mend them – for they really are not able. None of them is able to mend either the sense or the verse. Therefore I must beg the one of these two favours: either to let them stand just as they are, to take them for better for worse; or to add the true reading in the margin, or at the bottom of the page; that we may no longer be accountable either for the nonsense or doggerel of other men.”

 

 

In 1739 Charles Wesley published a hymn which began

Hark! how all the welkin rings,

Glory to the King of Kings

It was perhaps because not many people knew what a “welkin” was, or perhaps because the tune wasn’t very inspiring, that it didn’t achieve great popularity.

 

 

Martin Madan and George Whitfield published a new version of it in 1767, with the first lines changed to

Hark! the Herald Angels sing

Glory to the new-born King !

 

Other music was tried, including Handel’s See the Conqu’ring hero comes, and it is still sung to that tune in Ireland.

 

In 1840 Felix Mendelssohn wrote the music for a secular cantata to celebrate Gutenberg, the inventor of printing. Festgesang's second chorus, "Vaterland, in deinem Gauen", was adapted in 1855 by William Hayman Cummings. Mendelssohn said of the song that it could be used with many different choruses but that it should not be used for sacred music.

 

So, with amended words and a forbidden tune it has become one of the most popular Christmas carols.

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There is a green hill far away

Without a city wall ...

 

So why does a hill need a city wall round it? To keep out the appalling theology which follows those lines?

 

What's wrong with it? Cecile Frances Alexander wrote this hymn for "Little Children" - it's not an adult hymn.

 

The following comes from a church magazine (http://www.oystermouthparish.com/home.php?page_id=144):

 

There is a green hill was written to illustrate the words of the creed, ‘Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried.’ Mrs Alexander begins the first verse by painting a picture. As a skilled teacher she knew that her first task was to capture a child’s imagination. In the second line she originally wrote ‘without’ a city wall, but changed it to ‘outside’ to remove any ambiguity.

 

The second verse celebrates the mystery of the cross, ‘We may not know, we cannot tell....’ The passion of Jesus, though difficult to comprehend, is something he endured for us and for our salvation. This is celebrated in the next two verses, ‘He died that we might be forgiven, he died to make us good... There was no other good enough to pay the price of sin.’ The noted New Testament scholar, Professor A. H. Hunter, once wrote, ‘It was given to an Irish woman, in a hymn she wrote for little children, to express better than many a learned tome the purpose, the necessity and the challenge of that sacrifice which has in principle redeemed our prodigal race.’ The hymn ends with a call for us to ‘love as he has loved us.’

 

According to this article, the composer Charles Gounod once remarked that "There is a green hill" was ‘the most perfect hymn in the English language because of its charming simplicity.... the lyrics seemed to set themselves to music.

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============================

 

What about those ghastly Welsh tunes?

 

You know the ones.

 

Always in a miner key....all slag heaps and sheep's head broth.

 

MM

 

If you think they're ghastly, you're obviously doing them too fast and too loud!

 

And what about the major ones, like... um, Penlan, the most unjustly neglected Welsh tune I know. And Cwm Rhondda. I mean, how many more do you want.

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What's wrong with it? Cecile Frances Alexander wrote this hymn for "Little Children" - it's not an adult hymn.

 

"There was no other good enough to pay the price of sin."

I'm sorry if I have diverted this thread into theology rather than music, and I know and respect the fact that there are many different points of view on the subject, but the phrase does raise the questions, "Who demanded the price?" and "To whom was the price paid?"

 

Some early theologians said that the price was paid to the devil - one of the theories of the atonement which few would accept today.

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