Info

transforms the 'High Victorianism' of Stainer and the dissonance of Wesley into a wholly new vision of faith.

Anglicanism led the way in English choir music, but it was tardy in recognising the value of hymnody, though when it did, it fostered arguably the richest and most popular tradition in the world. One important source of hymn-singing was the revival of the extensive Lutheran chorale literature which took place alongside the scholarship of early music throughout northern Germany (notably Wackernagel's Das deutsche Kirchenlied von der altesten Zeit bis zu Anfang des 17. Jahrhunderts of 1864) and Scandinavia. This tradition, vibrant under pietist influence in the eighteenth century, inspired John Wesley and the Methodists in England and (especially) Wales, with the result that dissenting congregations began to reject the established metrical psalmody still practised in Anglican parish churches, and hymns became increasingly popular at Sunday worship and at open-air meetings. As the use of hymnody spread, two of its most seminal exponents, Isaac Watts and Charles Wesley, emerged as pioneers of the literary art. More importantly, John Wesley's Collection of hymns for the use ofpeople called Methodists was published as the first denominational hymn book in 1780, indicating how quintessential hymnody had become to Nonconformist worship. In Anglican worship metrical psalmody, invariably sung unaccompanied, dominated parish worship, though 'west gallery music' performed by singers and instrumentalists (where the congregation would turn round to face the choir and musicians at the rear of the church) was also prevalent in some country parishes, especially in the west country; but after a tentative beginning, with localised, parochial hymn publications, a wider range of hymn books for high church and evangelical persuasions began to appear by the 1850s led by J. M. Neale's The hymnal noted (1851-4), a collection of translations of Latin hymns with music drawn mainly from plainchant, Edward Mercer's Church psalter and hymn book (1854), Edward Bickersteth's Psalms and hymns based on the Christian Psalmody (1858) and Catherine Winkworth's Chorale bookof England (1863, with music edited by Sterndale Bennett). The culmination of this trend, in which there was now a major commercial interest, was Hymns ancient & modern (1861) edited by Henry Baker with W H. Monk as musical editor. This publication, more than any other, sold thousands of copies, was soon expanded in further editions of 1868 and 1875 and helped to promulgate the 'Victorian' hymn (now led by the choir and organ) as a universally admired, fashionable and distinctive artistic genre. Moreover, its success encouraged other denominations to publish their own 'official' hymn books with musical editors of stature to give their publications a sense of prestige, as revealed by the Church hymns (1871, edited by Sullivan), the High Anglican Hymnary

0 0

Post a comment