The Scottish hymn-writer Henry Francis Lyte (1793–1847) began a career in medicine at Trinity College, Dublin, but abandoned it when he took holy orders in 1815. During the next eight years he became curate at several parishes including the sailing town of Lymington, where he composed Tales on the Lord’s Prayer
in verse. In 1823, Lyte took up an appointment in the Devonshire port of Brixham and it was here that most of his hymns, including Praise, my soul, the King of Heaven
, Abide with me
and God of mercy, God of grace
were written. He remained in Devonshire for several years but died in France at the early age of fifty-four.
The tune ‘Praise, my soul’ was written by the English organist and composer Sir John Goss (1800–1880), who succeeded Thomas Attwood as organist of St Paul’s Cathedral in 1838. Goss had previously studied with Attwood, who himself had been a pupil of Mozart in Vienna. Goss composed several anthems, glees and other hymn tunes, including ‘Humility’ sung to the carol See, amid the winter snow. He was knighted in 1872. The descant sung on this recording was composed by A C Tysoe (1884–1962).
from notes by Sarah Langdon © 1999