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O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing - 18th Century Gallery Hymns

Release Date: 01/29/2013 
Label:  Regis   Catalog #: 1338  
Composer:  AnonymousHugh WilsonTraditionalWilliam Croft,   ... 
Performer:  Maddy Prior
Number of Discs: 1 
Length: 1 Hours 2 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

An intriguing release.

As the brief but interesting booklet notes tells us, it was during the eighteenth-century that hymns as we knew them first developed out of the previous tradition of singings psalms to a very restricted number of tunes. Hymns flourished both in terms of the words, which were no longer exclusively drawn from the Bible and became more expressive, allowing for a personal relationship with God. The melodies blossomed into ones swifter-paced, accessible and tuneful, sometimes owing something to popular secular works. The new and melodious tunes of hymns were due in large part to the Methodist movement. The hymns were accompanied by a small group of local musicians situated in the West Gallery of the
Read more church, hence the appellation, Gallery Hymns.

This disc is fascinating, offering, as it does, new perspectives on some very well-known hymn tunes. The performances are “authentic” – with rustic voices - on occasion too much so! - and instruments, and good rhythmic alterations according to textural phrasing. There is also much finesse in terms of decoration and melodic invention in the harmonies. The downside of the “authentic” performances is that the hymns often feature very high female voice lines and descants. These come over as rather screeching, and this soon becomes wearing. I was surprised both at the lack of instrument/player listings in the notes, and also at the apparent lack of a serpent, an instrument which was the backbone of local music-making and would, surely, have been a regular feature of West Galleries.

I was puzzled, also, by the rendition of Arise and hail the joyful day – where it sounds as though the principal melodic line is missing, with just upper and lower harmonies being sung in its stead.

Nevertheless – an intriguing release, and another credit to Maddy Prior, and the Mellstock and Carnival Bands.

-- Em Marshall-Luck, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

And Can It Be That I Should Gain, hymn by Anonymous
Performer:  Maddy Prior (Voice)
Length: 3 Minutes 46 Secs. 
As pants the hart by Hugh Wilson
Performer:  Maddy Prior (Voice)
Period: Classical 
Length: 2 Minutes 26 Secs. 
Lo! He comes with clouds descending by Traditional
Performer:  Maddy Prior (Voice)
Period: Classical 
Written: 18th Century; England 
Length: 3 Minutes 37 Secs. 
O worship the king by William Croft
Performer:  Maddy Prior (Voice)
Period: Baroque 
Written: England 
Length: 3 Minutes 25 Secs. 
Away with our sorrow and care by Traditional
Performer:  Maddy Prior (Voice)
Length: 3 Minutes 21 Secs. 
Arise and hail the sacred day, carol by Joseph Stephenson
Length: 2 Minutes 44 Secs. 
Hail happy morn (from "James Saunders, His Book", 1842) by Traditional
Written: circa 1842 
Length: 2 Minutes 16 Secs. 
Awake and join the cheerful choir (English) by Traditional
Length: 2 Minutes 54 Secs. 
See Heaven's High Portals, hymn by Anonymous
Length: 2 Minutes 55 Secs. 
Arise, arise ye mortals all by Traditional
Written: 18th Century 
Length: 2 Minutes 11 Secs. 
While shepherds watched (Thos. Este's Psalter, 1592) by Anonymous
Written: circa 1592 
Length: 2 Minutes 53 Secs. 
The Musical Lovers, song by Anonymous
Length: 1 Minutes 46 Secs. 
Rejoice, This Glorious Day Is Come, hymn by Anonymous
Length: 4 Minutes 48 Secs. 
Christ the Lord is risen today (music from Lyra Davidica, ca. 1708 ) by Anonymous
Performer:  Maddy Prior (Voice)
Length: 3 Minutes 14 Secs. 
Light of the world by Anonymous
Performer:  Maddy Prior (Voice)
Length: 3 Minutes 46 Secs. 
All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name by Oliver Holden
Performer:  Maddy Prior (Voice)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1793; USA 
Length: 4 Minutes 1 Secs. 
O for a thousand tongues to sing by Thomas Jarman
Performer:  Maddy Prior (Voice)
Period: Romantic 
Length: 3 Minutes 47 Secs. 
Who would true valour see by Traditional
Performer:  Maddy Prior (Voice)
Length: 3 Minutes 6 Secs. 

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