James William Elliott moved from a career as a church musician in the Midlands to London where he assisted Arthur Sullivan in editing Church Hymns (1874) and worked for a music publisher. He composed operettas as well as songs and anthems, and still has a number of hymn tunes in the major books. This, however, is probably his best known, originally written for the hymn for Sunday evening ‘O day of rest and gladness’ (hence the tune’s name). It has very warm associations in the minds of many even today, because the tune has been so often sung to these words at confirmations. J E Bode in fact wrote the words for the confirmation of his two sons and a daughter in 1866. They speak of Christian commitment in a way that not all will be happy with, but which do, when sung to this tune, still say something to the sense of emotional idealism that is not always a bad thing at this point of the Christian pilgrimage.
from notes by Alan Luff © 2001