« PreviousContinue »
“ The fineness which a hymn or psalm affords
Is when the soul unto the lines accords”
HIS little book was undertaken as a labor of love to meet a want felt in our
own church, and it differs from other hymnals in several respects.
The collection is much smaller than the usual size, the aim not being to gather a complete body of sacred song, but practically to cover the range of devout affections which should be voiced by a worshipping congregation. Hymns which are really songs or poems were preferred to rhymed didactics. Formalism, whether theological or literary, has been avoided, and even beauty of poetic expression less sought for than the devotional quality. All the hymns chosen are either direct prayer and praise to God, or fervent meditations upon the story of the soul's life.
Hymns, however, are not written for speech but for song. While the text has been studiously selected, the compiler gave her first care to the music, and especially to secure such blending of words with music, that " voice and verse might really be the two-fold expression of a single mood. Each stanza, each leading phrase, has been lovingly and critically studied in this regard.
The book is in two parts. In Part I.the largest place is given to the modern English school, particularly to the compositions of Barnby, Dykes, Calkin, Sullivan, etc. The hymns here have much of the tender, reverent, and noble simplicity, which characterizes the music. This section contains also a few Welsh airs, which have a quality peculiarly their own. Part II. draws chiefly from American sources, and contains the most familiar and well-loved hymns now current in our churches.
As musical fitness has always been the prime consideration, the usual method of classifying hymns by their subjects has not been followed. Poems upon the same theme may differ widely in tone of emotion, and therefore require different musical renderings. This requirement is often sacrificed in books where the arrangement is merely topical. The carefully prepared Index of Subjects will be a sufficient guide to the finding of any desired hymn.
Hymns which vary in important respects from their common versions are indicated by a f.
The preparation of this volume has already endeared it in my own home. It is eminently fitted for family use, and I believe that in the larger circle of the Christian congregation, it cannot fail to bring joy, beauty, and fervor into the service of sacred song.
THEODORE C. WILLIAMS. May 1, 1890,
New York City.
'HE pleasant duty remains of thanking those to whom I am indebted for the
use of original music, or of copyrighted material ; and I beg to acknowledge the courtesy of A. P. Howard and Oliver Ditson & Co., for 660 little town of Bethlehem ;” U. C. Burnap for “Baxter ;” Chas. H. Hoyt for “ The Lord's Prayer,” and “Ecce Cælum ;” Henry de Koven Rider for 6 Carol ;” Harrison Millard for 6 Stabat Mater; Wm. A. Pond & Co., for 6. Suffer little children to come unto Me,” Go Baptism of a child," and “ Blessed are they that mourn ; and to Oliver Ditson & Co., for their great kindness in allowing the use of “ Bethany,” “ Rathbun,” “Dorrnance," “Solitude,” “ Henley,” “White,” “ Serenity,” “ Gould,” “ Leighton," " Illa,” “ Billow,” and “ Bemerton,” and to G. F. Le Jeune, for “Varick St.”
In some few cases it has been impossible to discover the address of a composer, but I trust the permission which would gladly have been asked, will be generously granted.
Many of the newer hymns and versions, have been taken from the three admirable new books; “Hymns of Faith and Life,” by the Rev. John Hunter, Glasgow, The “ Berwick Hymnal,” by the Rev. A. W. Oxford, M. A., St. Luke's, Berwick St. Soho, and “Congregational Hymns” for the free churches, by W. Garrett Horder, London.
Let me also express my sincere gratitude to the many friends who have allowed the use of their hyinns, or otherwise helped in this difficult undertaking; but most of all to my husband, to whose criticism I have constantly appealed, and whose aid and sympathy have been given me in every stage of the work.
VELMA C. WILLIAMS. May 1, 1890,
New York City.