Thursday, April 28, 2016

With slightly revised words, Song 161 in Hymns of Millennial Dawn

8 comments:

Andrew Martin said...

The music is the hymn tune "Bethany" by American composer Lowell Mason (who also wrote the music for "Joy to the World" - the Christmas carol, not the Three Dog Night song). The Church of England uses a different hymn tune, "Horbury" by John B. Dykes. The Methodist Church in England uses a third tune, "Propior Deo", by Sir Arthur Sullivan. Which one (if any) of the three was played by the orchestra on the sinking Titanic is still a matter of debate - and continued research.

Anonymous said...

Wikipedia (which of course, can never be wrong!) suggests that the words for "Nearer, My God, To Thee" were written by English Unitarian poet Sarah Fuller Flower (married name Adams) who lived 1805-1848. Presumably Andrew, the words were added to any one of the three tunes you mention? I wonder which of the three tunes was adopted by Bible Students?

It would make an interesting study to consider how earlier Hymns used by Bible Students were reworded and adapted to be fit for purpose.

Son of Ton

Andrew Martin said...

Just found my copy of the 1924 edition of "Hymns of Millennial Dawn". In this edition, "Nearer, My God, to Thee" is song 188, and the hymn tune noted at the top is, indeed, Lowell Mason's "Bethany".

Miquel Angel Plaza-Navas said...

Yes, it was normal to sing a same text with different tunes.

Searching hymnary.org says that this hymn has been published at least in 2105 hymnals, text by Sara Flower Adams (1841) and tune Bethany by Lowell Mason, but that there were other tunes used (less normal) like Horbury, Kedron, Propior Deo, St: Edmund, Trust, American, and some others. But the tune most used was BEHTANY

Searching my database of hymnals related to Bible Students and Jehovah's Witnesses I can find that NEARER, MY GOD TO THEE, is found at:

-Winnowed Hymns (1873), nº 125 with tune Bethany (1856)
-The Jubilee Harp (1874), nº 425, with tune Bethany (1856)
-Gospel Hymns and Sacred Songs (1875), nº 118 with tune Bethany (1856)
-Gospel Hymns consolidated, volumes nº 1,2,3 (1883), nº 118, with tune Bethany (1856)
-The Epworth Hymnal (1885), nº 147, with tune Bethany (1856)
-Songs of Pilgrimage (1886), nº 1223A with tune Bethany (1856)
-Songs of Pilgrimage (1886), nº 1223B with tune Clarion
-Songs of Hope (1887, by J.H. Paton), nº 96... without mention tune.
-Songs of the Bride (1879), nº 81 with tune Bethany (1856)
-Poems and Hymns of Dawn (1890), nº 188 with tune Bethany (1856)
-Hymns of the Millennial Dawn (1909), nº 188 with tune Bethany (1856) (Also Hymns of the Millennial Dawn editions of 1913, 1915, 1916, 1918, 1919, 1921, 1923, 1926, 1936, 1946, 1950, 1959 & 1968)
-Angelophone Hymns (1916), nº 78 with tune Bethany (1856)
-Songs of Praise to Jehovah (1928), nº 188 with tune Bethany (1856)

TEXT IN 1928 (SONGS OF PRAISE TO JEHOVAH):
Nearer, my God, to thee,
Nearer to thee!
E'en though it be a cross
That raiseth me.
Still all my song shall be,
Nearer, my God, to thee!
Nearer, my God, to thee!
Nearer to thee!

Though like a wanderer,
Daylight all gone,
Darkness comes over me,
My rest a stone,
Yet even here I'd be
Nearer, my God, to thee!
Nearer, my God, to thee!
Nearer to thee!

Bright doth thy Truth appear
Shining from heav'n;
This light thou sendest me,
In mercy giv'n,
Ever to beckon me
Nearer, my God, to thee!
Nearer, my God, to thee!
Nearer to thee!

Lord, I would scale the height,
Nearer to be;
My soul pants like the hart,
Lord, after thee.
O! may each day bear me
Nearer, my God, to thee!
Nearer, my God, to thee!
Nearer to thee!

TEXT BETWEEN 1890-1926 (POEMS AND HYMNS OF DAWN and HYMNS OF DAWN:
Nearer, my God, to thee,
Nearer to thee!
E'en though it be a cross
That raiseth me.
Still all my song shall be,
Nearer, my God, to thee!
Nearer, my God, to thee!
Nearer to thee!

Though like a wanderer,
Daylight all gone,
Darkness comes over me,
My rest a stone,
Yet even here I'd be
Nearer, my God, to thee!
Nearer, my God, to thee!
Nearer to thee!

Bright doth thy Truth appear
Shining from heaven;
This light thou sendest me,
In mercy given,
Ever to beckon me
Nearer, my God, to thee!
Nearer, my God, to thee!
Nearer to thee!

Lord, I would scale the height,
Nearer to be;
My soul would wing its flight
Quickly to thee.
O! may each day bear me
Nearer, my God, to thee!
Nearer, my God, to thee!
Nearer to thee!


TEXT IN 1879 (Songs of the Bride):
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee!
E'en though it be a cross
That raiseth me,
Still all my song shall be,
Nearer, my God, to Thee!
Nearer, my God, to Thee!
Nearer to Thee!

Though like the wanderer,
Daylight all gone,
Darkness comes over me,
My rest a stone,
Yet even here I'd be,
Nearer, my God, to Thee!
Nearer, my God, to Thee!
Nearer to Thee!

Now let my way appear,
Onward to heaven,
All that Thou sendest me,
In mercy given,
Angels to beckon me
Nearer, my God, to Thee!
Nearer, my God, to Thee!
Nearer to Thee!

The with my waking thoughts,
Bright with Thy praise,
Out of my stony griefs,
Bethel I'll raise;
So by my woes to be
Nearer, my God, to Thee!
Nearer to Thee!

Or if on joyful wing,
Cleaving the sky,
Sun moon, and stars forgot,
Upward I fly;
Still all my song shall be--
Nearer, my God, to Thee!
Nearer to Thee!

Miquel Angel Plaza-Navas said...

That means... that until 1944, Jehovah's Witnesses sung Nearer my God to Thee !!!

Andrew Martin said...

After listening to both, "Bethany" seems much more singable (hence more attractive to an American audience?); whereas personally, I find "Horbury" much more majestic to listen to (and much more to my personal liking - but then, my favourite type of classical music is English pastoral, after all).

Anonymous said...

My thanks are due to Andrew and Miquel for following up on my enquiry. I guess this shows what a powerful influence music can be and that a great piece of music is just that, regardless of who writes or uses it.

Son of Ton finishes comment while listening to Benedictus by Karl Jenkins/Adiemus

roberto said...

Thanks Rachael