« AnteriorContinuar »
model has been the ideal one for song worship ever since; and we can pardon the climax when Professor Charles M. Stuart speaks of him as “writer, scholar, thinker and saint,” for in addition to all the rest he was a very good man.
THE TUNE. Old “Ames” was for many years the choir favorite, and the words of the hymn printed with it in the note-book made the association familiar. It was, and is, an appropriate selection, though in later manuals George Kingsley's “Ware" is evidently thought to be better suited to the hightoned verse. Good old tunes never “wear out," but they do go out of fashion.
The composer of “Ames,” Sigismund Neukomm, Chevalier, was born in Salzburg, Austria, July 10, 1778, and was a pupil of Haydn. Though not a great genius, his talents procured him access and even intimacy in the courts of Germany, France, Italy, Portugal and England, and for thirty years he composed church anthems and oratorios with prodigious industry. Neukomm's musical productions, numbering no less than one thousand, and popularin their day, are, however, mostly forgotten, excepting his oratorio of “David” and one or two hymn-tunes.
George Kingsley, author of “Ware,” was born in Northampton, Mass., July 7, 1811. Died in the Hospital, in the same city, March 14, 1884. He compiled eight books of music for young people and several manuals of church psalmody, and was for some time a music teacher in Boston, where he played the organ at the Hollis St. church. Subsequently he became professor of music in Girard College, Philadelphia, and music instructor in the public schools, being employed successively as organist (on Lord's Day) at Dr. Albert Barnes' and Arch St. churches, and finally in Brooklyn at Dr. Storrs' Church of the Pilgrims. Returned to Northampton, 1853.
“EARLY, MY GOD, WITHOUT DELAY.” This and the five following hymns, all by Watts, are placed in immediate succession, for unity's sake—with a fuller notice of the greatest of hymnwriters at the end of the series.
Early, my God, without delay
I haste to seek Thy face,
Without Thy cheering grace. In the memories of very old men and women, who sang the fugue music of Morgan's "Montgomery,” still lingers the second stanza and some of the “spirit and understanding” with which it used to be rendered in meeting on Sunday mornings,
So pilgrims on the scorching sand,
Beneath a burning sky,
THE TUNE. Many of the earlier pieces assigned to this hymn were either too noisy or too tame. The best and
longest-serving is “Lanesboro,” which, with its expressive duet in the middle and its soaring final strain of harmony, never fails to carry the meaning of the words. It was composed by William Dixon, and arranged and adapted by Lowell Mason.
William Dixon, an English composer, was a music engraver and publisher, and author also of several glees and anthems. He was born 1750, and died about 1825.
Lowell Mason, born in Medfield, Mass., 1792, has been called, not without reason, “the father of American choir singing." Returning from Savannah, Ga., where he spent sixteen years of his younger life as clerk in a bank, he located in Boston (1827), being already known there as the composer of “The Missionary Hymn.” He had not neglected his musical studies while living in the South, and it was in Savannah that he made the glorious harmony of that tune.
He became president of the Handel and Haydn Society, went abroad for special study, was made Doctor of Music, and collected a store of themes among the great models of song to bring home for his future work.
The Boston Academy of Music was founded by him and what he did for the song-service of the Church in America by his singing schools, and musical conventions, and published manuals, to form and organize the choral branch of divine worship, has no parallel, unless it is Noah Webster's service to the English language.
Dr. Mason died in Orange, N. J., in 1872.
“SWEET IS THE WORK, MY GOD, MY KING.”
This is one of the hymns that helped to give its author the title of “The Seraphic Watts.”
Sweet is the work, my God, my King
THE TUNE. No nobler one, and more akin in spirit to the hymn, can be found than “Duke Street,” Hatton's imperishable choral.
Little is known of the John Hatton who wrote “Duke St.” He was earlier by nearly a century than John Liphot Hatton of Liverpool (born in 1809), who wrote the opera of “Pascal Bruno," the cantata of “Robin Hood” and the sacred drama of “Hezekiah.” The biographical index of the Evangelical Hymnal says of John Hatton, the author of "Duke St.”: “John, of Warrington; afterwards of St. Helens, then resident in Duke St. in the township of Windle; composed several hymntunes; died in 1793.* His funeral sermon was preached at the Presbyterian Chapel, St. Helens, Dec. 13."
“COME, WE THAT LOVE THE LORD.”
Watts entitled this hymn “Heavenly Joy on Earth.” He could possibly, like Madame Guyon,
*Tradition says he was killed by being thrown from a stage-coach.
have written such a hymn in a dungeon, but it is no less spiritual for its birth (as tradition will have it) amid the lovely scenery of Southampton where he could find in nature "glory begun below.”
Come, we that love the Lord,
And let our joys be known;
And thus surround the throne.
And never, never sin;
Drink endless pleasures in.
Glory begun below:
From faith and hope may grow. Mortality and immortality blend their charms in the next stanza. The urfailing beauty of the vision will be dwelt upon with delight so long as Christians sing on earth.
The hill of Sion yields
A thousand sacred sweets,
Or walk the golden streets.
THE TUNE. “St. Thomas" has often been the interpreter of the hymn, and still clings to the words in the memory of thousands.
The Italian tune of "Ain" has more music. It is a fugue piece (simplified in some tune-books),