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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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When a knight won his spurs, in the stories of old, He was gentle and brave, he was gallant and bold; With a shield on his arm and a lance in his hand, For God and for valour he rode through the land.
No charger have I, and no sword by my side, Yet still to adventure and battle I ride, Though back into storyland giants have fled, And the knights are no more and the dragons are dead.
Let faith be my shield and let joy be my steed ’Gainst the dragons of anger, the ogres of greed; And let me set free, with the sword of my youth, From the castle of darkness, the pow’r of the truth.
Jan Struther (1901-1953)
There was a search in the years during and following the First World War for what was described as ‘muscular Christianity’ to counter the kind of faith that was most clearly pictured in wan, effeminate stained-glass representations of Jesus. When working on the 1931 edition of Songs of Praise it seemed a good idea to make better use of the tune ‘Stowey’, capitalizing on its vigorous possibilities. Jan Struther (Joyce Placzek, author of the novel Mrs Miniver) worked as a kind of assistant to Percy Dearmer and wrote a number of texts to fit promising tunes. For this tune she came up with this romantic appeal to the story-book picture of the Arthurian knight. The second verse brings us back to realism and the enemies named in the final verse are more true to our actual spiritual need than those we may sometimes confess. It is difficult to engage the imagination of adolescent boys in the faith and this was a good attempt that was certainly successful for a few decades.
The tune is adapted from the folk-song ‘As I walked out one May morning in spring’ that Cecil Sharp noted down in Bridgwater, Somerset, not far from Over and Nether Stowey.