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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDP12101
Recording details: June 1999
Wells Cathedral, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Antony Howell & Julian Millard
Release date: November 1999
Total duration: 3 minutes 59 seconds

Coe Fen
First line:
How shall I sing that majesty
composer
Praise and Thanksgiving
author of text
NEH 373

Introduction
John Mason was the Rector of Water-Stratford in Buckinghamshire when he wrote his volume The Songs of Praise (1683), which included the poems from which this hymn is drawn. It is thought that his hymns were among the first to be used in the Church of England. English Hymnal (1906) was the first to include the words in this form, making a hymn that is unusual in its emphasis on how insignificant is the most noble praise that we offer by comparison with the praise that the company of heaven, and indeed the whole universe offers. The original is in four-line verses of Common metre. Placing two together, although it makes good sense of the words, creates the need to have a Double Common-metre tune, and few of these have been completely effective. Feeling the need for another attempt, Ken Naylor, whose career was the teaching of music in public schools and who was at that time music master at the Leys School, Cambridge, wrote this tune which immediately received wide acclaim. He named it after Coe Fen, an open space near the school.

from notes by Alan Luff 1999

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