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While not directly related to organs, contributors may be interested to know that a new edition of Hymns A&M is to be published in January - further information is available at http://www.newaandm.co.uk/.

 

This certainly looks like being an interesting publication, which may at last challenge Kevin Mayhew's HON series on the breadth of its content. With John Barnard on the editorial team, I am hopeful that musically at least it will be sound. The preface (which can be read on that site) is full of promise, and I certainly hope that this book follows in the spirit of the excellent Common Praise, which is still for me the hymn book that traditional Anglican churches should be using.

 

My only concern is the physical size of the book, with over 800 hymns, although the reputation of A&M is such that I'm confident the binding will be good. I've requested a sampler, but if it is as good as I hope I may try to persuade our church to purchase some copies. I suspect the main challenge will be persuading his nibs to accept their eminently sensible editorial policy on politically incorrect words (which again sounds similar to that used in Common Praise). As always with Canterbury Press, there is a generous grant scheme when purchasing 20 or more copies, with a reduction of 35% initially until April - although at £30 for a full music copy the initial outlay is considerable.

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I certainly hope that this book follows in the spirit of the excellent Common Praise, which is still for me the hymn book that traditional Anglican churches should be using.

 

For my money, it would be hard to better Common Praise, contents-wise. However, what I see as its main advantage - the relative paucity of Gumby songs - would, I imagine, be seen by most priests today as a weakness if one were looking to use only one hymnbook. I imagine the new A&M will have to be substantially different from Common Praise to be marketable, or any previous edition of A&M and it sounds as though it will be. I am trying very hard not to prejudge something I have not seen, but the prospect doesn't thrill me one bit. But then, I'm just hopelessly out of empathy with the musical style of worship songs and the style of worship they purvey.

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The preface, as reproduced on the website, suggests that it's essentially a cut-down version of CP plus most of the Sing Praise supplement (worship songs etc.). In other words, a similar approach to A&M New Standard, which was a cut-down AMR plus the two supplements (Hundred Hymns for Today and More Hymns for Today).

 

"Around 100 hymns have been dropped from Common Praise (and only five from Sing Praise)... there are fifty items in this book that were not in Common Praise nor Sing Praise, and they have been drawn from a wide range of contemporary sources and traditions, to some extent continuing the inclusive approach tentatively begun in Common Praise and pursued enthusiastically in Sing Praise."

 

There are rather a lot of hymn books aiming for the middle ground at the moment: this, John Bell's Church Hymnary 4 (rebranded south of the border as Hymns of Glory, Songs of Praise), and of course HON in its infinite variations. Nothing wrong with that (and I'm quite fond of CH4) but it would perhaps be nice to have a more musical volume, too - an English Hymnal for the 21st century. We live in hope...

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A&M New Standard was not a great success, and the idea behind it was flawed - it cut the parent book drastically in order to bind in the two Hymns for Today supplements as they stood, without deletion. This meant that a lot of well-used traditional hymns were omitted, but some of the newer ones which had failed to catch on or had become dated already were included. I hope the new book displays a more sensible policy.

 

Unless a church is very High, I reckon Common Praise is by far the best hymnal. As pointed out above, the editorial policy with regard to texts is very sensible and the standard of production is better than hymnals from other publishers (a full music edition will stay open on the music desk).

 

CH4 has too much Iona in it. I genuinely admire John Bell but one can have too much of him, like Taize, and I find the rather self-conscious Scottishness to be rather cloying - all tartan and shortbread, if you see what I mean (I was organist of the finest church in Scotland for nine years, so I'm not whistling Dixie here). Also, the words of traditional hymns have been hacked about to a ruinous degree.

 

The Church of Ireland book, Church Hymnal, is musically very well done (the principal music editor was Donald Davison of Belfast and he managed to make several silk purses out of sows' ears), but the words have been mutilated.

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My copy of this book arrived today following publication in late March. I ordered through Amazon for £28.50, slightly below the RRP. I have glanced through the entire book but have not spent any time looking at or playing anything in detail, so what follows is based on that cursory glance.

 

It is certainly a very interesting addition to the current market of hymn books, and for breadth of content could seriously challenge the 'Hymns Old and New' series, which presumably is its intention. It would be interesting to scan a list of what has been dropped from Common Praise, which I thought to be a comprehensive, well-edited traditional hymn book - I can't offhand think of anything obvious that hasn't made the 'jump' into the new book, although doubtless I will in time! The modern selection is quite varied - a lot of Timothy Dudley-Smith (41) and John Bell (33), a fair sprinkling of Graham Kendrick (14), Fred Pratt Green (14), Stuart Townend (12), a few from Bernadette Farrell, a significant number of chants (Taize etc), and some African-inspired items, spirituals etc. Many of the TDS texts (and other modern texts) are set to well-known traditional hymn tunes. Of the 'worship songs', some have received new arrangements, the name featuring most often here being John Barnard, but with contributions from Paul Leddington-Wright, David Iliff, Noel Treddinick etc; some offer harmony parts for the choir. Many of the worship songs haven't been rearranged, however, staying in their original, pianistic arrangements. On occasion different arrangements are provided to the same tune in different places in the book (eg Londonderry Air, Sing Hosanna), although it seems a shame that this isn't cross-referenced so one can opt for the alternative version if it is better. Balancing out the 'gumby songs' (as VH calls them) is a good chunk of high church material, including a number of Marian hymns, Sweet sacrament, Soul of my Saviour, and so on.

 

Layout-wise, its pretty similar to CP - ordered by themes at the front with 'General Hymns' at the end. The selection for Holy Days seems to have shrunk further from that in CP. Some hymns have been moved from where they were in CP (either out of or into the GH section, sometimes a little surprisingly). One example which I noticed was 'Make way' (which wasn't in CP) which is listed under Palm Sunday - I think its theme about the coming kingdom etc makes it suitable (if not preferable!) at other times of the year as well. Like HON, the book includes a section at the very back for chants (Taize etc), although a number of these also appear throughout the book in the themed sections - I think I would rather have them all in one place as HON does. There are comprehensive indexes (thematic, lectionary, composer etc) as in CP. The paper seems to me to be adequately thick (ie better than HON!) - perhaps in a large book of some 850 items there is a concern about the book becoming too heavy. The general layout is pretty smart and uncomplicated, although the text when printed underneath the music is a little small (certainly smaller than when printed separately). It might irritate that a number of the 'songs' run across several pages (up to 6 in one or two cases).

 

In terms of the words and music itself, there are some quite surprising anomalies. Someone needs to give the editorial team a lesson in the history of the Wesley family, as Samuel Sebastian's fine hymn tunes (Hereford, Aurelia etc) are attributed to his father Samuel! This seems a very surprising error given that they were listed correctly in CP! Setting new words to traditional tunes can make some interesting matches, and it is notable that some tunes crop up quite regularly (e.g Abbots Leigh, Lux Eoi, St Helen and Woodlands four times, Highwood and St Botolph five times - not that one should necessarily complain as they are all fine tunes!). Text wise, the editorial policy seems to follow that of CP, not politically correcting unless it is done with a degree of sympathy, although some traditional texts are in modernised or 'Jubilate Hymns' versions (eg 'Earth has many a noble city' or its variant becomes 'Bethlehem, what greater city', and 'The royal banners forward go' - here 'As royal banners are unfurled', matched only to the Plainsong and not to 'Gonfalon Royal'). Fortunately there are only a few examples of this, though. One major surprise is the inclusion of a long-lost additional verse to 'Praise my soul' ('Frail as summer's flower...'), set to the music we normally play to the third verse. Some of the chosen tunes are surprising for the words they are matched with, although invariably that which I'd prefer is found elsewhere in the book. A good number of the hymns are provided with descants, ranging from the old AMR (Alan Gray, Sydney Nicholson) to more recent efforts, again John Barnard being the most frequent contributor; many of them look very usable.

 

There is probably more to say in time, and doubtless other contributors who have ordered the book will have their own views. This book has clearly been produced to have mass market appeal, for the church were there is a desire (whether from vicar or congregation!) to sing a mixture of hymnody, and as I said on this front it competes well with HON, which is really the only other book which offers such broad coverage. It is better laid out, mostly better edited (and certainly more sensitively so) and musically it looks to be an improvement. I would say that the modern material is somewhat more progressive than HON - whether it will last is another matter (see 100 Hymns for Today etc). Some things could certainly have been done better, as I have outlined, but I'd still pick it over HON - whether that can persuade the multitude of churches currently using HON to change is another matter. However, there is no such thing as a perfect hymn book, and we shouldn't really expect this to be, and its certainly a step in the right direction.

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A spot-on review - I really can’t add much to that, other to say that I got a copy a week ago and am generally impressed.

 

The Christmas section is particularly good, with Willcocks descants/last verses for several... though I’m disappointed that the Holst accompaniment isn’t used for Personent Hodie (it was at least footnoted in CP). Rather exasperatingly ‘Unto us a boy is born’ is replaced by ‘Jesus Christ the Lord is born’, and ‘Of the Father’s love begotten’ becomes ‘Of the Father’s heart begotten’ (to the NEH/CP arrangement which, to my mind, is inferior to the AMR one). But I was delighted to see Cranbrook as an alternative tune for ‘While shepherds watched’!

 

Quick and ready reckoner: it passes the ‘Dix test’ - different harmonies for lines 3/4 to 1/2 - which Common Praise, surprisingly, doesn’t. Treats from CP are retained such as ‘I bind unto myself today’ to St Patrick and Gartan, and ‘There’s a wideness in God’s mercy’ to Corvedale, and of course Coe Fen. There are several rather good Peter Nardone hymns which I’d not seen before - ‘Sing we of the Kingdom’ is particularly effective - though ‘Cry Freedom’ I think still goes best to ‘God rest you merry...’. I’d heard a rumour that Salve Festa Dies had gone AWOL and am pleased that it hasn’t. I miss ‘Glory, love and praise and honour’ (to Benifold) which has been dropped, but there’s a rather nice ‘Glory, honour, endless praises’ to the Sicilian Mariners Hymn.

 

(And to bring this back to organ music... I’ve long thought that the Sicilian Mariners Hymn, which is one of the tunes played by the carillon at St Mary’s, Hinckley, must have been the tune that kept Vierne awake all night. There’s a very strong resemblance between the hymn tune and the theme of Les Cloches de Hinckley... or am I imagining it?)

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There is an interesting review of Ancient & Modern Hymns and Songs for Refreshing Worship on the Amazon web site.

It is written by Mark Dancer and entitled 'Ten years early'.

We still use Ancient & Modern Revised and never like singing from other hymn books with altered words or omitted verses.

What is so wrong with 'Earth has many a noble city' that it needs to be altered?

Tempo Primo.

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For my money, it would be hard to better Common Praise, contents-wise. However, what I see as its main advantage - the relative paucity of Gumby songs - would, I imagine, be seen by most priests today as a weakness if one were looking to use only one hymnbook. I imagine the new A&M will have to be substantially different from Common Praise to be marketable, or any previous edition of A&M and it sounds as though it will be. I am trying very hard not to prejudge something I have not seen, but the prospect doesn't thrill me one bit. But then, I'm just hopelessly out of empathy with the musical style of worship songs and the style of worship they purvey.

 

I would say that this explains my own thoughts exactly.

 

Given the choice between Common Praise and, well, several other reasonably recent hymn books, I should choose the former - unless, of course, one of the other choices was the New English Hymnal. In fact, about ten years ago, we did have to make such a choice, but unfortunately, for various reasons, we ended up with ....

 

.... no, I am sorry; I simply cannot bring myself to type the name of the book.

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There is an interesting review of Ancient & Modern Hymns and Songs for Refreshing Worship on the Amazon web site.

It is written by Mark Dancer and entitled 'Ten years early'.

We still use Ancient & Modern Revised and never like singing from other hymn books with altered words or omitted verses.

What is so wrong with 'Earth has many a noble city' that it needs to be altered?

Tempo Primo.

 

Well, quite. Although in at least one publication, both the words and the music of a number of hymns has been un-ceremoniously hacked around. In some cases, as far as I am concerned, I cannot discern any improvement in clarity - and certainly not poetry. Musically, a number of arrangers should be ashamed of themselves.

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The 1904 revision of A&M was a flop because it was different from the established edition. Apparently there was uproar because "Abide with me" was no longer 27 and the editors reinstated the original "Hark how all the welkin rings" for "Hark the herald". In my whole career, I had never seen a copy of the 1904 A&M, although my assistant at St. Magnus Cathedral had a copy of the transposed tune book. Finally, in 2011 I acquired one which turned up in a heap of books dropped in at Queen's College by a retiring and downsizing clergyman.

 

A perfect example of how much A&M Standard was engrained in national affections is given by Erik Routley:

 

"It was in the summer of (I think) 1971 that, in the course of a commentary on a Test Match (those who are not English must understand that this is a game of cricket: told that, they will abandon any attempt at further enquiry), Mr Brian Johnson, one of our leading authorities on the game, announced the score in the following phrase: 'That makes it 332: that's "There is a green hill far away".'

 

"This, I absolutely insist, so far from being a frivolous illustration, is for this subject an ideal one. Only that game produces that kind of number, and the leisure for the commentator to make that kind of remark. But only Hymns A&M could have been the point of reference."

 

Much English hymnody owes a lot to an innate Iambic tendency in the language. No one can say if the metrical psalms of Sternhold and Hopkins were in 8.6.8.6 metre (Common Metre) because that was traditionally the metre for secular ballads or whether ballads were in that metre because the psalms were. Shakespeare commits a gaffe when he has Falstaff saying that something is as absurd as the Hundredth Psalm to the tune of Greensleeves, because actually the Hundredth Psalm ("All people that on earth do dwell") goes rather nicely to Greensleeves. I doubt whether Hymns A&M Revised had much influence on Betjeman (although hymns in general certainly did), because most of his poems were written before it was published. The late poem 'Thoughts on "The Diary of a Nobody"' is in Long Metre (8.8.8.8), but when I think of Betjeman, I tend to think of Trochaic metres ("Where is Wendy? Wendy's missing!"), which Betjeman as a High Churchman would know from Pange Lingua, but (it seems to me) more likely from Coleridge's "Hiawatha".

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Quick and ready reckoner: it passes the ‘Dix test’ - different harmonies for lines 3/4 to 1/2 - which Common Praise, surprisingly, doesn’t.

 

I'm interested in this. I've always preferred the harmonies on lines 1 & 2 to be repeated (as in the English Hymnal and New English Hymnal). The chromatic harmonies for lines 3 & 4 seem to be completely out of keeping with the rest of the harmony and the cadence at the end seems unnatural to me; at any rate I never play this version. I don't know what part Monk played in adapting Kocher's tune but I wonder if the altered harmonies were written by Nicholson at the same time as he wrote the descant in, for example, AMNS.

 

Later:

 

Just found this version of the original tune by Kocher. It seems very strange, used as we are to the Monk shortened version.

http://www.hymnary.o...LG1876/page/154

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I'm interested in this. I've always preferred the harmonies on lines 1 & 2 to be repeated (as in the English Hymnal and New English Hymnal). The chromatic harmonies for lines 3 & 4 seem to be completely out of keeping with the rest of the harmony and the cadence at the end seems unnatural to me; at any rate I never play this version.

 

I'm with Stephen on this.

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I'm interested in this. I've always preferred the harmonies on lines 1 & 2 to be repeated (as in the English Hymnal and New English Hymnal). The chromatic harmonies for lines 3 & 4 seem to be completely out of keeping with the rest of the harmony and the cadence at the end seems unnatural to me; at any rate I never play this version.

 

I think it works quite effectively to use the alternative version for lines 3 & 4 in the last verse only as a sort of reharmonisation.

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I don't know what part Monk played in adapting Kocher's tune but I wonder if the altered harmonies were written by Nicholson at the same time as he wrote the descant in, for example, AMNS.

 

I'm pretty sure these harmonies are in the 1912 A&M "Varied Harmonies for Organ Accompaniment" volume, and if so there'll be an authorship credit there - I'll check. I've got a copy in the music cupboard at church - will try and remember to look (though it's my week off this Sunday). To me, the harmonies give the hymn a much more complete structure. But to each their own!

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I'm pretty sure these harmonies are in the 1912 A&M "Varied Harmonies for Organ Accompaniment" volume, and if so there'll be an authorship credit there - I'll check.

 

That version (by J. Lionel Bennett) has similarities, but is not the same.

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My church is considering changing from the hymn book we don't mention to this A & M. I wondered if anyone who uses it has any comments to make, in the light of experience. Anything you particularly like or don't like?

 

Is the music hard to read (the print seems quite small)? Do you need to buy the organ edition - £120!

 

Do you use many of the huge number of new tunes? And new words, come to that.

 

Needless to say, any change has got to be good! Does anyone know anything about the New, New English Hymnal supposed to be coming out next year? Just NEH with the contents of English Praise and New English Praise added, or something more radical?

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The print is small and the paper is very thin. It's my age, I know, but I find the new A&M exhausting - it's hard to imagine more than 5% of the new items catching on, to be frank. You turn page after page and recognise nothing so it's great if you're looking for hundreds of new ideas, but I suspect they'll only get sung once.

 

Really, how many 'new hymns' (or new tunes) have become part of our nation's hymnody over the last 50 years. Are we counting on one hand? If I was starting a list...

 

All my hope on God is founded

Lord of the Dance

How shall I sing that majesty

There is a redeemer - ?

Shine, Jesus, Shine

I, the Lord of Sea and Sky

Tell out my soul

... and a few notable others by Bishop Timothy Dudley-Smith including Lord, for the years

Christ triumphant (Guiting Power only - not the Youth Praise tune)

There's a wideness - Corvedale

East Acklam - has it caught on?

Abbot's Leigh

 

Struggling now without looking things up - I realise that I have forgotten some excellent other examples, but could we make it to 20, I wonder... ok... 30... 50??

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I'm a bit out of it on this side of the pond because different items have risen to (or fallen from) popularity. The theological students at Queen's College here in St. John's laughed out loud when I demonstrated "Camberwell" and had difficulty believing that it, rather than "King's Weston", was popularly sung to "At the Name of Jesus".

 

Do people still sing "Lord of the Dance"? I haven't played it for years, and never over here.

 

How about Patrick Appleford's "Living Lord" or some of the John Bell/Iona hymns, such as "Will you come and follow me if I but call your name?" (to the tune "Kelvingrove").

 

There are a couple of RC ditties which are leeching into Anglican worship here, particularly at funerals where the congregation is largely not made up of regular church-goers - "Be not afraid" and "Eagle's Wings".

 

"How great thou art" and "Amazing Grace" have similarly filtered in as funeral staples - not new, of course, but new to Anglicanism.

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My church is considering changing from the hymn book we don't mention to this A & M. I wondered if anyone who uses it has any comments to make, in the light of experience. Anything you particularly like or don't like?

 

Is the music hard to read (the print seems quite small)? Do you need to buy the organ edition - £120!

 

My church doesn't use it so I have only a passing knowledge of the book, and others who use it week in week out will have more to add. As you say, anything would be better than the unmentionable, and you won't go far wrong with A&M. That being said, I think Common Praise is better, unless you absolutely must have the newer items in A&M. It is also smaller, and therefore has the advantage of being easier to manage. I picked up a copy of the organ edition at a discount, and it is now my go-to whenever I play a tune from the Ancient and Modern stable (I sometimes prefer them to those in the Church of Scotland's Church Hymnary). It will certainly make your life easier, but is probably not essential if money is tight

 

The print is small and the paper is very thin. It's my age, I know, but I find the new A&M exhausting - it's hard to imagine more than 5% of the new items catching on, to be frank. You turn page after page and recognise nothing so it's great if you're looking for hundreds of new ideas, but I suspect they'll only get sung once.

 

Really, how many 'new hymns' (or new tunes) have become part of our nation's hymnody over the last 50 years. Are we counting on one hand? If I was starting a list...

 

All my hope on God is founded

Lord of the Dance

How shall I sing that majesty

There is a redeemer - ?

Shine, Jesus, Shine

I, the Lord of Sea and Sky

Tell out my soul

... and a few notable others by Bishop Timothy Dudley-Smith including Lord, for the years

Christ triumphant (Guiting Power only - not the Youth Praise tune)

There's a wideness - Corvedale

East Acklam - has it caught on?

Abbot's Leigh

 

Struggling now without looking things up - I realise that I have forgotten some excellent other examples, but could we make it to 20, I wonder... ok... 30... 50??

 

The Church of Scotland is different, but I think most of these have come across as well.

 

All my hope: Most CoS churches seem to use Groeswen, though I play the original Meine Hoffnung. I would play Michael if I thought I could get away with it (and it is in the both the 3rd and the current 4th editions of the Church Hymnary, so some parishes must sing it)

 

Church Triumphant: I play the Youth Praise tune, which I quite like, and it seems to go down well with my congregation. CH4 only has Guiting Power, however

 

East Acklam - has it caught on? Not in Scotland in my experience. I introduced it to my church for last year's harvest but don't think it was known.

 

I'm a bit out of it on this side of the pond because different items have risen to (or fallen from) popularity. The theological students at Queen's College here in St. John's laughed out loud when I demonstrated "Camberwell" and had difficulty believing that it, rather than "King's Weston", was popularly sung to "At the Name of Jesus".

 

Do people still sing "Lord of the Dance"? I haven't played it for years, and never over here.

 

How about Patrick Appleford's "Living Lord" or some of the John Bell/Iona hymns, such as "Will you come and follow me if I but call your name?" (to the tune "Kelvingrove").

 

There are a couple of RC ditties which are leeching into Anglican worship here, particularly at funerals where the congregation is largely not made up of regular church-goers - "Be not afraid" and "Eagle's Wings".

 

"How great thou art" and "Amazing Grace" have similarly filtered in as funeral staples - not new, of course, but new to Anglicanism.

 

 

I'm still puzzled about Camberwell even though I grew up singing it. It is the only tune from Thirty 20th Century Hymn Tunes that has really caught on, and not necessarily the best of that collection either.

 

I have had Lord of the Dance at a wedding once, but never heard it anywhere else.

 

John Bell, of course, is very popular in the Church of Scotland. I don't know how well the Iona hymns are known in Anglican circles but a few seem to have caught on.

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I'm still puzzled about Camberwell even though I grew up singing it. It is the only tune from Thirty 20th Century Hymn Tunes that has really caught on, and not necessarily the best of that collection either.

 

I have had Lord of the Dance at a wedding once, but never heard it anywhere else.

 

One of the others from Thirty 20th Century Hymn Tunes - shamefully - has caught on a bit - that dreadful C major tune to 'O Jesus, I have promised,' and, of course, one of the hymns to which David refers - 'Lord, Jesus Christ' - comes from there, or, at least, is in that little volume.

 

Lord of the Dance - I have always found that this works well in school with pupils of all ages. I go into a minor key for the verse about the sky turning black.

 

Yesterday, when I started my short list of 'new hymns' I found myself wanting to include Highwood - 'Glory to God, all heav'n with joy is ringing' but the tune is by RR Terry who died in 1938! The words are 'new' though - and I think they first appeared in the A&M New Standard.

 

Would we add John Dykes Bower's Amen Court to our list? - 'O King enthroned on high.'

 

And then there is 'In Christ alone' which is modern evangelical but it has caught on, I feel and the young like it here at school.

 

Of course, I left out 'My song is love unknown' yesterday. John Ireland only died in 1962, but the words are by Samuel Cross man who lived 1624 - 1683. I wonder if those words were sung to another tune and if not, how Ireland discovered them.

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One of the others from Thirty 20th Century Hymn Tunes - shamefully - has caught on a bit - that dreadful C major tune to 'O Jesus, I have promised,' and, of course, one of the hymns to which David refers - 'Lord, Jesus Christ' - comes from there, or, at least, is in that little volume.

 

 

I haven't come across it, except in the original booklet, but looking at which hymnbooks include the tune, I think I can tell what kind of churches sing it.

 

 

And then there is 'In Christ alone' which is modern evangelical but it has caught on, I feel and the young like it here at school.

 

I can understand its popularity in evangelical circles, as it is far better than many of their so called 'hymns'. But it always struck me as a bit too evangelical, not least in its theology, for any wider appeal. It has definitely caught on, though, and is in the new A&M. I find Townend's hymns translate very well to the organ, and I am pleased to see Andrew Wilson's excellent organ arrangement of King of the Ages in A&M. Shame they messed up the melody by including the introduction to the final chorus descant (which isn't included) as though it were part of the melody.

 

 

Of course, I left out 'My song is love unknown' yesterday. John Ireland only died in 1962, but the words are by Samuel Crossman who lived 1624 - 1683. I wonder if those words were sung to another tune and if not, how Ireland discovered them.

 

One of my favourite hymns. I love all of Ireland's music. We all know many cases of new tunes taking over existing hymns to the virtual exclusion of the original, and this seems to be no exception.The earliest use I can find of it as a hymn comes from An Help to the Singing Psalm-Tunes published by W. Sherwin in 1725 where it is set to the tune of Psalm 148. I think this is the same tune known as Old 136th (attributed to Este's Psalter) in Songs of Praise, but I don't have that book to check. The Anglican Hymn Book of 1862 includes it to Henry Lawes' Psalm 47. These tunes are all earlier than Crossman (Lawes was a contemporary) so it may be that he wrote the words in the same meter as the established Psalm setting for that reason.

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One of Percy Dearmer's innovations was to introduce items of Christan lyric poetry which had not hitherto been conceived or used as hymns. Thus, from about the same period we have George Herbert, John Donne, Robert Herrick, Henry Vaughan and Edmund Spenser, as well as Samuel Crossman, who wrote "My song is love unknown". Some items caught on, others didn't.

 

The story about the tune - and I have no reason to suspect that it's not true - is that Dearmer took John Ireland out for lunch and showed him the text, saying he wanted a tune for it, and Ireland wrote one there and then on the menu.

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