Wednesday, March 03, 2010
Something Old, Something New
Today is the lesser feast of John & Charles Wesley, Priests. They are claimed by Methodism as founders, though they both died as presbyters in good standing of the Church of England. As a musician, I must confess myself more drawn to Charles. Though he may be the "lesser light" in terms of leadership genius, he is certainly the "greater light" as a poet. So many of his hymn text have wormed their way into my heart, but none perhaps moreso than Love divine, all loves excelling... . There are a number of very fine tunes to which this hymn has been sung. The two best ones happen to be Welsh (serendipitously so, since St David's day was only two days ago): Hyfyrdol and Blaenwen (the latter much more well-known in Britain than here). But I recently ran across this more contemporary setting, which I find really quite moving (and not only because I'm a soft touch for young people's faces while they're singing). The opening conversation with the composer leads to a performance by the National Youth Choir of Scotland. Enjoy.