‘Angel voices, ever singing…’

 

At Aberfoyle, we sang one of the most satisfying tunes in any hymn book, as far as part-singing is concerned. It has a tremendous ‘vertical’ feel about it, in that every chord is wonderful, and each part feels important. Even the repeated notes, when they occur, are not boring. As your part remains constant, the other parts ‘slither’ in steps through a sucession of rich chords.

The words were written by Rev Francis Pott who was born in 1832 in Southwark, taking Holy Orders in 1856. He wrote several original hymns including the above. However he is better-known for his translations. He was on a committee which compiled Hymns Ancient and Modern. He retired in 1891 with deafness, and died in 1909.

The tune was written by Edwin George Monk (no relation to W.H.Monk), who was born in Somerset in 1819. He was organist and choir-master at Radley College, Oxford, followed by a move north to be organist at York Minster, where he stayed for nearly 25 years. He wrote church music, and he spent much time as editor of hymn books, and chant books (remember them?). He died back in Radley in 1900.

Now if he had only called it ‘ANGELUS VOICES, EVER SINGING’ !

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