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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.

 

Sorry to spoil a good story, but "My song is love unknown" didn't appear in the 1906 English Hymnal.

 

The Companion to Hymns and Songs (the 1983 British Methodist Hymnal) says that the tune was composed at the request of Geoffrey Shaw for these words in the Publc School Hymn Book (1919).

 

Ian

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Sorry to spoil a good story, but "My song is love unknown" didn't appear in the 1906 English Hymnal.

 

The Companion to Hymns and Songs (the 1983 British Methodist Hymnal) says that the tune was composed at the request of Geoffrey Shaw for these words in the Publc School Hymn Book (1919).

 

Ian

David's story may still be true, as I have come across it correctly attributed to Geoffrey Shaw. Jeremy Dribble, for instance, mentions it in his liner notes to Naxos's CD of Ireland's church music from Lincoln Cathedral

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Quote from Handbook to the Church Hymnary Third Edition:

" Donald Ford (Daily Telegraph 5 April, 1950) says that the tune was written on a scrap of paper in a quarter of an hour after Ireland received a request from Geoffrey Shaw for a tune for these words. It first appeared in The Public School Hymn Book, 1919, and Songs of Praise, 1925."

 

The same source says that the first appearance of the text as a hymn was in The Anglican Hymn Book, 1868, so it wasn't one of Dearmer's innovations after all.

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The same source says that the first appearance of the text as a hymn was in The Anglican Hymn Book, 1868, so it wasn't one of Dearmer's innovations after all.

I have traced it to 1725 (via the Hymn Tune Index). See my earlier post above.

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"the tune was written on a scrap of paper in a quarter of an hour...

 

I heard a story that, upon receiving a reminder from his publisher, Sir David Willcocks composed Fanfare on 'Gopsal' (OUP) on the train between Cambridge and London.

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I heard a story that, upon receiving a reminder from his publisher, Sir David Willcocks composed Fanfare on 'Gopsal' (OUP) on the train between Cambridge and London.

 

January 20th was the anniversary of the death of George V and, the day after, therefore, the anniversary of Hindemith composing the 'Trauermusik' - Music of Mourning in 1936. One story I was told, when I first played the 'cello version of this, was that it had been written, in a few hours, on Victoria station in London and broadcast, that evening, with Hindemith playing the solo viola part and the strings of the BBC symphony orchestra conducted by Adrian Boult! The latter part is true, the former, a good story but I think the truth of it was that it was written in an office at the BBC - but beautiful, beautiful music all the same!

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I have traced it to 1725 (via the Hymn Tune Index). See my earlier post above.

 

Sherwin's 1725 work was, I think, intended for domestic use and not as an hymnal for use in church. The text would not have been sung in church at such an early date. Erik Routley was very clear on making the distinction between domestic and public devotion and underlines the fact that congregational singing of anything except metrical psalms was not common practice until the time of Isaac Watts (and in Anglican churches, much later).

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I heard a story that, upon receiving a reminder from his publisher, Sir David Willcocks composed Fanfare on 'Gopsal' (OUP) on the train between Cambridge and London.

 

Healey Willan claimed to have composed most of his Passacaglia in A flat minor, one variation at a time, on the train between Toronto and his holiday home at Lake Simcoe, some sixty miles to the north.

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Sherwin's 1725 work was, I think, intended for domestic use and not as an hymnal for use in church. The text would not have been sung in church at such an early date. Erik Routley was very clear on making the distinction between domestic and public devotion and underlines the fact that congregational singing of anything except metrical psalms was not common practice until the time of Isaac Watts (and in Anglican churches, much later).

Thanks for the clarification. The Hymn Tune Index is a great resource, but doesn't reveal much about what the books it refers to were, or how they were used.

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That's true. I find "Songs of Praise Discussed" and the aforementioned "Handbook to Church Hymnary Third Edition" very helpful, as well as one or two other such books, and Erik Routley's writings are always erudite, forthright and entertaining.

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