Cardinal John Henry Newman (1801–1890) was educated at Trinity College, Oxford, and later became a Fellow at Oriel, where he met John Keble. Newman was ordained as an Anglican priest and was presented in 1828 to the vicarage of St Mary’s, Oxford, where his sermons attracted much attention. However, in 1845 he resigned from St Mary’s and converted to the Roman Catholic faith, causing a rift with Keble and isolating him from his Oxford life. In 1865 Newman published his poem ‘The Dream of Gerontius’, from which comes the hymn Praise to the Holiest in the height
; the entire poem was set to music by Sir Edward Elgar in 1900. Newman published many volumes of sermons and two novels, both anonymously; he became a cardinal in 1879.
The tune ‘Chorus Angelorum’ appears as ‘Somervell’ in some hymn books after its composer Sir Arthur Somervell (1863–1937), who was a pupil of Stanford at Cambridge University and Parry at the Royal College of Music. Later, he became a teacher at the Royal College of Music and from 1901 he was the Inspector in Music to the National Board of Education; from 1920 until his knighthood in 1929 he was Chief Inspector. Somervell first contributed to Arundel Hymns in 1902 and his complete list of works includes numerous chamber, choral and vocal pieces and a symphony.
from notes by Sarah Langdon © 1999