About this blogger:
A theorist, organist, and conductor, Jeff Ostrowski holds his B.M. in Music Theory from the University of Kansas (2004), and did graduate work in Musicology. He serves as choirmaster for the new FSSP parish in Los Angeles, where he resides with his wife and children.
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“One must pray to God not only with theologically precise formulas, but also in a beautiful and dignified way. The Christian community must make an examination of conscience so that the beauty of music and song will return increasingly to the liturgy.”
— Pope Saint John Paul II (26 February 2003)

Do You Recognize This Hymn Tune?
published 8 November 2016 by Jeff Ostrowski

CURRENTLY SERVE on a committee established by the JP2 institute to produce a new Catholic hymnal named after St. Jean de Brébeuf, perhaps the greatest missionary of North America. Obviously, this book will include the “old standard” hymns, and plenty of them. (More on that later.) However, the book also includes contemprary hymn melodies—similar to how the CAMPION HYMNAL contained tunes by Kevin Allen—and also contemporary hymn texts. The following is an excerpt from one such text. By the way, none of the texts are written by me. Whatever talents I may possess, literary prowess is not among them.

The tune we’re considering was composed by Sir Richard R. Terry, editor of the Old Westminster Hymnal. I thought it would be fun to not reveal the tune name, because I want to see how many people recognize it. 1

I decided to record a couple verses. The women lines sung by me came out…interesting—but I did okay on Bass and Tenor. The SATB harmony starts at the 0:44 marker:

Those interested in submitting their own hymn texts should follow the instructions toward the bottom of this page. My work mainly involves musical stuff, and I’m glad to avoid some of the nitpicking and fighting that ensues when the committee evaluates contemporary hymn texts. I’ve witnessed heated exchanges when it comes to individual words in certain hymns. I guess “literary people” take words as seriously as musicians take music!


1   I had not previously known this tune, but I am familiar with Sir Richard R. Terry, and especially his student, Dom Gregory Murray (1905-1992).