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Engelberg

First line:
For all the Saints who from their labours rest
composer
author of text
NEH 197

 
Walsham How’s hymn first saw light of day in a small collection published in 1864. It was soon taken up and now appears in almost every hymn book. We begin by praising God for the saints, and praying for those who today are fighting the good fight of faith. But naturally we find ourselves caught up in the same struggle, prayer and song, and identify ourselves with this Church marching towards heaven. For a moment night seems to be closing on us, but then the greater light is seen, and we find ourselves part of the great company that no man can number who will join in the eternal ‘Alleluia’.

Stanford wrote the tune ‘Engelberg’ for the 1904 edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern, to be sung to these words. His tune was soon eclipsed in some circles by Vaughan Williams’s ‘Sine nomine’ from The English Hymnal (1906), and in others it had difficulty in displacing Barnby’s ‘For all the saints’. Editors were not allowed to use ‘Sine nomine’ to other words, and so they turned to ‘Engelberg’ for a number of fine texts in the metre, and it has become popular in its own right. It is therefore worth hearing with the words for which it was intended. The name is that of a village in Switzerland; it does however mean ‘Angels’ Hill’ and this may be what Stanford had in mind.

from notes by Alan Luff © 2002

Recordings

The English Hymn, Vol. 3 – Hills of the north, rejoice
CDP12103

Details

Track 23 on CDP12103 [4'07]

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