It is almost a theme running through these notes that a hymn tune or two is all that survives of the work of a musician highly regarded in his time. After studies in England and Germany, Herbert Oakeley was Reid Professor of Music at Edinburgh University, and in 1881 was made Composer to the Queen in Scotland. He composed a great deal and was known as a fine improviser. These words by John Keble, whose ‘hymns’ are almost all taken from his book of poems The Christian Year (1827), are another meditation on Luke 24:29, ‘Abide with us, for it is towards evening, and the day is far spent’. It is another of those popular evening hymns (the German ‘Abends’ means ‘at evening’). The tune gives a fitting aura of warmth to the words, but it is tightly constructed, with the rising figure introduced in line two appearing at different pitches in the next two lines, carrying the interest through to the end.
from notes by Alan Luff © 2001