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!
NOTES FROM THIS ARTICLE:
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).