Hyperion Records

Woodlands
The author tells that it was in May 1961, after reading these verses from St Luke in a review copy of the New English Bible, that he wrote this hymn. The first line follows exactly as the opening of the Magnificat stands in that translation, and this gave him the metre which he uses. Thereafter this is a free paraphrase, picking up only a phrase here and there. Nevertheless we feel that we are indeed singing the sense of Mary’s song of praise. It is an important hymn in that it showed that a truly modern hymn could be written that was as firmly based in the Bible as any by Charles Wesley, and that well-written lines could be picked up by a good tune and become truly contemporary praise. It has been published in almost every hymn book in English since that time and was one of those important hymns that led to the explosion of new hymn writing from about 1970 onwards.

The author gained a love of poetry from his schoolmaster father. He felt the call to the ministry of the Anglican church in his early teens. He was already writing poetry and at Cambridge a good deal of comic verse (he calls that ‘an invaluable part of learning the trade’). He worked as a curate in London and for the Billy Graham Crusade, then for the Church Pastoral Aid Society, a home missionary society. He worked with Michael Baughen on Youth Praise 1 and 2, which became hugely popular. Psalm Praise followed. He moved to be Archdeacon of Norwich and then in 1981 Bishop of Thetford. His way of working in his busiest years was to note scripture references, ideas on metre, themes, requests, which he then worked into hymns on his summer vacations. He is now in a busy retirement.

The composer was director of music at Gresham’s School, Holt, Norfolk, and it is another tune in the tradition of public school worship, with a strong melody intended for the school chapel. It was set to these words in 1969 and is now securely wedded to them.

from notes by Alan Luff 2004

Track-specific metadata
Details for CDP12105 track 10
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-04-10510
Duration
2'29
Recording date
13 November 2003
Recording venue
Wells Cathedral, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Mark Brown
Recording engineer
Julian Millard
Hyperion usage
  1. The English Hymn, Vol. 5 Lead, kindly Light (CDP12105)
    Disc 1 Track 10
    Release date: August 2004
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