Blessed Cardinal Newman wrote this hymn as part of a larger work called The Dream of Gerontius. It is an awesome hymn, bringing theology together in verse. But there is some diversity as to which tune suits it best.
In my area, the general consensus seems to point towards Thomas Haweis’ tune called Richmond. Listen to this rendition from New Zealand. It works and the choir and organ make a great sound, but those leaps are something of an accident waiting to happen in the hands of less capable singers.
Maybe it was these concerns that lead R R Terry from Westminster Cathedral to compose his version, known as Newman or Billing. There are similarities, but the tune is much simpler yet still grand. Hear it in action here.
The layout in the Campion Hymnal, Organist Vol II is even better, with just three verses inline with the music and the remainder printed below. I can’t wait to see how Jeff’s next hymnbook turns out!
There is another well known tune by J B Dykes called Gerontius. This one seems to be favored by Protestant hymnbooks. Here it is at Peterborough Cathedral.
There are many servicable tunes in the same meter. Joy to the World is one which everyone would surely know. The meter is 8 6 8 6 if you would like to check the metrical index of your favorite hymn book.
Although if you would like something really spectacular, there is Edward Elgar’s Orchestral Version.