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God be in my head

composer
author of text
Book of Hours, 1514, in English in the Sarum Primer of 1558

 
These beautiful words need no commentary. They appear to go back to a French original of 1490. A number of tunes have been written for these words, and anthem settings abound, but this setting by Walford Davies holds the field. It was published in a leaflet in 1910 and gained wider currency by being included in the Festival Service Book of the London Church Choir Association in 1912.

Walford Davies had an immensely distinguished and influential career at a time when English music was beginning to be something to be proud of on an international stage. He was organist of The Temple Church and of St George’s Windsor; Professor of Music at Aberystwyth; Master of the King’s Music. He composed a great deal in many forms, but little of this is now performed. His greatest influence was as a choirmaster, teacher, adjudicator, musical educator, and above all as a popularizer of good music. His hymn singing broadcasts in the early years of the war are fondly remembered. This setting is utterly characteristic of his melodic and harmonic style.

from notes by Alan Luff 2004

Recordings

The English Hymn, Vol. 5 – Lead, kindly Light
CDP12105

Details

Track 8 on CDP12105 [1'40]

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