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Welcome to Hyperion Records, an independent British classical label devoted to presenting high-quality recordings of music of all styles and from all periods from the twelfth century to the twenty-first.
Hyperion offers both CDs, and downloads in a number of formats. The site is also available in several languages.
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Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom – Alberta
These words were written in 1831, a time in J H Newman’s life of considerable stress and turmoil. He was deeply concerned for the Church of England, and over a number of political events. His own spiritual life was approaching a crisis. On holiday in Italy with friends he became ill. Becalmed on ship on his way home he wrote these words, never intending them to be sung as a hymn. They are a challenge to the tune-writer: first, the mood of deep distress through which faith and hope shines must be expressed; secondly, having been written freely as a poem, the tune must respect the punctuation and allow the sense to flow over the ends of the lines. The upward surge of this tune expresses the mood well, and it sings of a deep resignation to the will of God in the final phrase. We hardly notice the technical problems because of the skill of the writing. W H Harris, who had a long career in cathedral music culminating in almost thirty years at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, wrote the tune in 1924 on a long train journey through Alberta.
Lead, kindly light, amid the encircling gloom; Lead thou me on. The night is dark, and I am far from home; Lead thou me on. Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see The distant scene—one step enough for me.
I was not ever thus, nor prayed that thou Shouldst lead me on. I loved to choose and see my path but now Lead thou me on. I loved the garish day, and spite of fears Pride ruled my will: remember not past years.
So long thy power hath blest me, sure it still Will lead me on, O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till The night is gone; And with the morn those angel faces smile, Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.