Let it be remembered that uniformly and from the very beginning anthem music has been prominent and influential at the Holy Cross. Nevertheless, constant attention has been bestowed upon the simpler sections of service. The Church on the hill has been noted for its singing of hymns. There never existed any tendency to belittle the lyrical or metrical numbers, in which the congregation had a part. The large and famous choir did not take up with the feeling of the old-style quartet, and account the hymn as a flippant trifle--to be rattled off without serious thought and with the smallest expenditure of time and breath. On the contrary, they--choir and people--made each recurrence of congregational song distinctly worshipful.
The Rector himself was always a happy participant in the music, both of anthems and hymns. He had so sturdy a throat capacity that he was competent to read or sing all through a service and at the same time conduct and take part in other portions, the leadership of which is ordinarily delegated to the choir.
Therefore, all the more did he bestow care upon the selection of that which was to be sung. He was anxious to find tunes which would best answer their purpose, and he began to make a collection of those which might be serviceable within the limits of his own cure. Naturally, his first thought was for the little ones, and we hear about a "Child's Book of Praise," a design which soon expanded into "The Parish Hymnal."
As this was the beginning of Doctor Tucker's public duty in a new department, which carried his name throughout America and on the far side of the Atlantic; as many know him now--however imperfectly--only as the Editor of a Musical Hymnal, it will be right for us to pause and try to ascertain the state of affairs which existed in our churches during generations gone. If we glance backward, recalling successive steps in the progress of psalmody, we may the better understand that which was accomplished by our independent thinker.
What were the tunes sung by our fathers? What were the characteristics of their music?
It is not needful that we shall devote much space to the recounting of the story about the beginnings of music in America. There was a day when each Puritan congregation was acquainted with not more than four or five tunes, of which "York tune," still extant, is an example. The members of this limited repertory were repeated ad nauseam; they were sung as simple melodies "on the air" without harmony, vocal or instrumental. As time went on, individual worshippers varied the tune each to suit himself, or the several participants would select different melodies out of the small stock of four or five, and sing them all at once. The result is described as chaotic.
The state of the case was parallel to that recorded by George Eliot in "Felix Holt": "The preacher gives out the tenth Psalm, and then everybody sings a different tune, as it happens to turn up in their throats. It is a domineering thing to set a tune and expect everybody else to follow it. It is a denial of private judgment."
In the matter of tempo and unity of attack, there was the like independency. One would reach the middle of the second or third note before another had left the first. "Go as you please "was the motto. A reverend writer working for reform in 1721, complains about the amazing slowness of delivery; he urges "not to fatigue the Singer with a tedious Protraction of the Notes beyond the Compass of a Man's Breath, and the Power of his Spirit: a Fault very frequent in the Country, where I myself have twice in one Note paused to take Breath."
Thereafter came on a struggle to introduce "regular singing," or singing by note, which was bitterly opposed as "Quakerish and Popish, and introductive of instrumental musick." Against the new way it was argued "that the names given to the notes are bawdy, yea blasphemous;" again, "that it is a needless way, since their good Fathers that were strangers to it, are got to heaven without it."
Neither may we linger upon the narratives having to do with William Billings and his compeers, the famous line of Singing-school masters in New England, throughout whose reign there flourished the "fugueing" tune, and other lively productions.
Some of us can recall the "Oldde Folkes' Concerts," at which the choir sang "Russia "set to words apportioned in this wise:
False are the men of high degree,
The baser sort are vanity;
(Bass) Laid in a bal-
(Treble) Laid in a bal-
(Alto) Laid in a bal-
(Tenor) Laid in a bal-
(Full) ance, both appear
Light as a puff of empty air.
Each verse ended with a slice from a madrigal. The method, applied to the make-up of hundreds of tunes, was once immensely popular in religious service. A pleasant reminder of it still subsists in "Antioch."
Others of us will remember "China" and "Windham," examples of another huge shoal--this time of unmelodious and mechanical tunes. We may thank our stars that we have got beyond them. They come down from the latter half of the eighteenth century, but in them we find no flavor of antiquity, no "voice of the ages." There is a radical diversity between the enduring strength of a genuine antique--such as a Gregorian melody--and a faded weakling which is known merely as an "old-timer."
After the day of "China," we reach a period identified with two much-used collections: the "Modern Psalmist," appearing in 1839, and employed so long that its title became a misnomer; and the "Carmina Sacra," first copyrighted in 1841. These and other tune-books of the age were shaped oblong--very long sideways. When one held in his hands the open volume, he felt as if he had to manipulate the top part of a mercantile ledger cut short. The "Carmina Sacra" was issued under the sanction of the Boston Academy of Music. A later edition was edited by Lowell Mason. In due time the book came to be almost omnipresent; its gray boards were a familiar sight in every choir loft.
People adopted with energy the original tunes composed by Lowell Mason. Of him it has been remarked that he did more to awaken interest in psalmody, and to depreciate its standards, than any other man of his time. Says a writer back in the fifties: "No one has done as much as he, in his day and generation, to extend the practice and lower the taste in sacred music. In the mechanism of getting up books of psalm and hymn tunes, and in making money out of them, he has been facile princeps--out of sight ahead of all competitors." Concerning "The Sabbath Hymn and Tune Book," then just published, the same reviewer continues: "The music is entirely Masonical. Of the vast quantity of tunes embodied in this large octavo a few are good, many are bad, and all the rest are indifferent: but for quantity we assure every purchaser that he will get his money's worth."
Surely it may now be asserted with slight fear of contradiction, that when Church congregations came to like "Hebron "and its class, they deceived themselves and made choice of a tasteless inanity; before long they succeeded in the importation into service of a weariness from which the soul must turn away. Fancy nowadays that our people should set themselves to work with grim determination and a compulsory diligence at the singing of "Hebron" or Balerma "or "Martyn."
Our younger readers may not comprehend the use of these appellatives; but let them be reminded that we speak about an age in which each tune received a distinctive name, just like a new-born child.
Many of the tunes set down in the "Carmina Sacra" have now gone out of use; others survive in occasional employment. Among the latter we find Zeuner's "Missionary Chant"; also "Park Street," "Italian Hymn," and "St. Martin's"--the last-named being still sung with gusto at St. Thomas' Church, New York, to the wording, "Not to the terrors of the Lord."
Among the. side-long tune-books there was one of especial interest to us because it had a connection with the Apostolic Succession; it was edited by Church organists, and its selections were to be sung to the Prayer Book Psalms and Hymns. The title of the work was the "Cantus Ecclesias," published under the certified sanction of the Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia, and edited by Messrs. Darley and Standbridge. The copyright is dated 1844.
Its assortment of tunes belongs to the same category as those of the "Carmina Sacra "--"Mendon," "Blendon," "Park Street," and the like. The solid English composers are represented--Handel, Dr. Arne, Dr. Arnold, and others. There is a local flavor in the names given to original tunes, then first published. "Morton," by A. G. Emerick, recalls Dr. Henry J. Morton of St. James', Philadelphia. Other popular clergy then living and laboring in the same city receive tribute; we find "Tyng" and "Suddards." Beethoven is impressed into the service to form the melody "Doane." The tune was the forerunner of many fashioned in the same way; for "arrangements" were coming into vogue. In the book, bits were taken and altered from Donnizetti, from Michael and Joseph Haydn.
The Greatorex Collection came out in 1851, offering "Manoah "and many other settings, which became prime favorites.
About this time it happened that tune-books were multiplied at such a rapid rate that the stock of tunes would no longer hold out; accordingly the number of "arrangements" increased yet more alarmingly. Operatic composers were much called upon. Secular melodies were fitted to sacred words. I remember when "O ye tears "was sung to a hymn, and "When the swallows homeward fly "to another. National airs were incorporated. In like manner folk-songs were appropriated; the latter stood the transition better than most, as they are cast in the mould of melody likely to stand the rack of time. Even Bacchanalian ditties were transformed; it would not do "to let the devil have all the good tunes."
At last the shape of time-books took a change. It began to "square up"--in form, a prefigurement of the alteration of taste which should happen after a while. A book was issued, entitled "A Tune Book proposed for the use of the Congregations of the Protestant Episcopal Church"--ordinarily spoken of as "The Tune Book." It was a semi-official production. The House of Bishops appointed a committee to prepare or adopt a collection of tunes to be used in connection with the "Psalms and Hymns." The membership of the committee included the Rev. Doctors Muhlenberg, Bedell, and Geer.
The contents of the work show an adherence to a dignified standard. There is no trace of the ditty. A decided tendency toward the chorale may be discerned--which is not surprising when we remember the early Lutheran associations of the Rev. Dr. Muhlenberg. The stately notation by minims was chosen as in consonance with the character of the compilation.
In its day the "Tune Book" had a great run. It was not superseded until after the "Additional Hymns" had made their appearance. Nevertheless, Church people in America had gone on singing the "Psalms and Hymns," those formerly bound with the Prayer Book, largely to tunes made up in the style of the glee, varied now and then by a folk-song, in rare cases by a ditty. "Retreat" and "Rock of Ages," by Thomas Hastings, also "Heber," by Kingsley, are excellent examples of worthy favorites fashioned purely after the method of the glee or part-song.
The chorale had little hold upon us. Unless the congregation sings sturdily as in Germany, or at least universally as in England, a chorale setting must be a failure. Church folk think about "Old Hundred" with enthusiasm; but sometimes it happens, however hard they try, that their singing of it is apt to make one weary. Just before it begins, they say within themselves--"now something grand is coming"; they call up zeal and energy; but after the event they feel depressed, dissatisfied with their endeavor. Once, at an annual service held before the Commencement of a Girls' School, I heard as a Recessional, "Now thank we all our God," sung to Cruger's Chorale, by light treble voices only, and accompanied by a timid organ of six or seven registers; and the effect was disastrous.
In England the history of psalmody shows variations like our own. The glee style had its exponents, but many of the older composers adopted the form of the chorale, as Mr. Croft in "St. Ann's." By the beginning of the nineteenth century the standard had fallen far below that of Tallis or Ravenscroft. Two tendencies may be traced: the one running parallel with the chorale, the other patterning after the secular song of the time, a debased sort of lyric. As a. witness of the degradation of taste, it may be mentioned that about the year 1800 and for a considerable period thereafter, the most popular hymn-tune in England, sung to the Advent wording "Lo, He comes," was, note for note, a secular air probably composed for the amatory verses beginning
Guardian angels, now protect me,
Send me back the youth I love.
The air was sung by Mistress Anne Catley at "The Golden Pippin"; moreover, it served for the accompaniment of a hornpipe danced at Sadlers' Wells. Serious objection may be urged against it, not only on account of its low origin, but because it is intrinsically unfit for association with sacred subjects.
Gradually there was a struggling effort to attain to better things. Dr. Gauntlet! came forward, drawing attention to Gregorian music and yet in touch with modern feeling, for he was chosen by Mendelssohn to play the organ part at the first performance of "Elijah," at Birmingham in 1846. Helmore was working at Plain-song. Richard Redhead was in the field.
There was a stir of life in religion, in Church, which demanded a new expression. It craved sacred 'songs for all the people, but it needed a variation from strict Plain-song or the chorale. The later English school met the requirement. It grafted "time-motive" and melody upon the stock of the chorale. When "Hymns Ancient and Modern" appeared in 1861, the light shined out complete and clear; the old tree put forth abundance of blossoms having fragrance and grace. Some of. us remember the times when the book "Hymns Ancient and Modern" was working its way in America. Many sympathetic singers felt at once the innate beauty disclosed by Dykes, Elvey, Gauntlett, and the rest. Parsons tried hard to find Sunday-school services and other un-rubrical offices in which these settings might be introduced. After our "Additional Hymns" came out in 1865, they gladly availed themselves of the opportunity to announce, in regular service, "Abide with me" and "Sun of my soul."
No doubt the English book was received with reservation of opinion. Among its selections, certain of the more mechanical sort did not take hold. I remember the reluctance about the acceptance of Ewing's setting for "Jerusalem the golden"; it gained ground slowly, and only by association with the uplifting and inspiring poem. Other tunes were unpalatable. I recall the satirical receipt given by a cleric for the making of a hymn-tune like some of these. Said he: "Put your eight notes in a bag; shake them well and draw them out as they happen to come--that gives you your air.'"
There was a world of good, however, in the new compilation, and it made its way. One clergyman met another in his study. Said he, "I have found a good tune for 'Oft in danger'"; forthwith he proceeded to sing, solo unaccompanied, Gauntlett's setting in "Hymns Ancient and Modern," now a household word. After the English manual was licensed for use in the American Church, Dykes' splendid strain, "Holy, holy, holy," and "Our blest Redeemer" soon found ready adoption.
In spite of the direction taken by foreign psalmody, the tune-books published among us continued to follow the old fashion. Thrall's "Episcopal Common Praise," of date 1867, shows scarcely a trace of the awakening. In the preface to that book, the editor speaks still of Lowell Mason as "Patriarch in the cause of sacred music."
On the other hand, Dr. Batterson put forth his "Missionary Tune Book," which gave recognition to the new style, although it did not forsake the old. Dr. J. S. B. Hodges was writing and publishing tunes framed after the later English fashion.
Early in 1870--the preface is dated Advent, 1869--Doctor Tucker brought forth his "Parish Hymnal." In so far as American tunes-books went, it was like a lightning flash in a clear sky. It was a radical departure; it cut loose from all of our past. There was not merely a diminution of the accepted bill of fare; the supplies were stopped. Think of it!--a tune-book without "Martyn "or "Brattle Street," or even "Hebron!" Here were brought forward, herein did the people gain happy acquaintance with strains written by Redhead, Dykes, Ouseley, Barnby, Monk, Elvey, and Gauntlett. German masters--Mendelssohn, Schumann, Haydn--were called upon. What bravery there was in the printing of "From Greenland's icy mountains "without Lowell Mason's tune! The audacity is emphasized by the fact that no fitting tune had yet been found to take its place. Dr. Muhlenberg had offered two, but both had failed of adoption.
American composers were not wanting. John Henry Hopkins was in evidence. Dr. Hodges contributed "O day of rest and gladness" and "Bread of the world"--now sung practically in every parish of the land. Doctor Tucker's "We sing the praise of Him who died" began a long career of beneficence; the same may be remarked of Mr. Rousseau's "Ride on, ride on in majesty" and his ever popular "Soldiers of Christ, arise." Since the day of its appearing, Dr. Warren's Easter Hymn has been incorporated into the order of thousands of services.
Even the lighter style was not despised, so long as it had something to offer. The Tune Book of St. Alban's, Holborn, and Boosey's "Household Music" furnished that which was tripping on the tongue.
The book was not a Church Hymnal. It was planned primarily for use in schools, in Bible or Confirmation classes, or upon special occasions. Nevertheless, it could help directly the music of service. As a portion of the wording was already included in the authorized hymnal, these hymns could now be sung to their proper tunes.
Of the enlightened psalmody, the "Parish Hymnal" was the introducer; toward this it was the educator. It stands single and alone. It accomplished a new thing of inestimable benefit. Through its instrumentality our Church singers made acquaintance--and that a pleasant one--with the better way, and they came to crave it. Before the "Hymnal with Tunes" was issued, the work of adoption was well advanced.
It was in the year 1872 that our people first looked upon the Church Musical Hymnal, now known as the "First Tucker." Herein and hereby the work was completed which had been begun in the preliminary compilation. Tunes first published in that book were transferred to these later pages, Here was a happy selection, showing thought and skill, with a prevailing adherence to the higher standard. Compromise there was, but only as the music followed the words. The larger part of the tunes is the workmanship of modern English writers. That school is supreme.
Nevertheless, soon after the publication of this work, Doctor Tucker made the remark, in conversation, that he did not pin down his musical faith to the limits of "Hymns Ancient and Modern." He had a liking for a freer and more flowing style, which yet conformed to the new type. For example, he introduced in his new book Dr. Cutler's "The Son of God goes forth to war," which has become almost exclusively "proper "for the words. And as in the former publication, St. Alban's Tune Book--representing the glee side--is made use of John Henry Hopkins contributed his Plain-song setting of "The Royal Banners forward go," and other standard compositions. Dr. Muhlenberg sent the music for "Jesu, the very thought of Thee."
It is pleasant to recall the enthusiasm with which this book was received, and to follow the change of taste brought about by its extensive adoption. The book was scattered all abroad; it appealed to multitudes; it was found in the hands of almost every chorister; and the appetite changed. Our people--in general--began to want a purer providing. They stepped to the nobler level, of which they had learned by means of the Tucker message and ministration. It is not too much to say that the "First Tucker Hymnal'" wrought a revolution; it achieved the victory; it made the new style not only tolerable but popular. It won the masses to the liking of its own lofty method.
Whereas, Christian people used to stand round an open grave and sing "Hark! from the tombs a doleful sound," set to a tune which answered the description, viz., to Timothy Swan's "China," now under similar circumstances we hear "For all the saints, who from their labors rest" set to Barnby's noble lyric. And what a transformation it is! We do not appreciate it, do not realize the importance of the step upward, to the highest grade of psalmody. And the remarkable feature of it all is, that this stricter and grander style has been popularized. Many is the time that I have noted the fact that even small boys belonging to amateur choirs show unfeigned delight in these strains written by a master of music.
After this the way was made easy for all future compilers of our tune-books. The standard had been set up and multitudes had rallied to its support. In large degree an axiom had been established that the music of the Church must be Church music even in regard to the hymn-melodies. It was only natural thereafter that musical editors should make use of the new style. It was a fresh application of the working of a principle of imitation referred to by Tennyson:
All can raise the flower now,
For all have got the seed.
The tendency was so wide-spreading that it influenced the compilers of tune-books who worked for Christians of other name, representing a less ecclesiastical sort of piety. Witness the considerable representation accorded to the modern English school in Dr. Robinson's "New Laudes Domini." Or note the "Evangelical Hymnal" compiled by Dr. Hall and Lasar; the book might almost be considered as prepared for adoption by the revived Church of England.
Think, then, of the world-wide influence exercised by the modest man, priest-musician, sitting in his study on Mount Ida!
Doctor Tucker used to say that there were two kinds of music--good music and bad--and that he believed in the use of the good, at any rate for the service of God. So he set up his banners for tokens, in the "Parish Hymnal" and in "Tunes Old and New Adapted to the Hymnal." And he converted the whole land to his way of thinking; he raised the standard of psalmody from Atlantic to Pacific.
The choice of hymns--of the words--pertaining to the American book had been determined by the General Convention of 1871. Thereafter ensued a controversy in the Church papers about the desirability of certain selections. Mr. James S. Biddle published critical essays in the Episcopal Register. In one of these he refers to Doctor Tucker as the "accomplished hymnologist," and, further, "fears that we are drifting into a sweet, dreamy sort of Tennysonian Kebleism--a love-lorn pietism." The Rector of the Holy Cross writes to his old-time schoolmate:
Jan'y. i6th, 1872.
MY DEAR BIDDLE:
I have read with much interest the articles in the Episcopal Register. But I must say at the outset, that I do not agree with you in your judgment of Keble and his brood. Yet I am heartily in sympathy with you when you condemn the silly, sickish and sensuous idea which some good people seem to entertain of heaven. Their ideal of heaven is hardly as real and reasonable as that of the pious old soul, who was anticipating the pleasure of wearing her Sunday gown, an everlasting clean white apron, and eating perennial strawberries and cream.
Why should we not be real and reasonable in religion as well as in other matters, and forego all "cant" with respect to eternal and temporal things?
No one will probably recognize the Parson of Holy Cross in the expression "accomplished hymnologist," and yet, I must own that it is pleasant to be remembered by a friend in such a flattering way.
You refer to hymns which are to be used in connection with adoration, such as "The God of Abraham praise," and I agree with you in thinking that this is the sort of hymns which should be used all but exclusively in a Church Hymnal. But I imagine that the Committee acted under the conviction that they were appointed to provide religious poetry or poetry of a devotional kind, which could be used elsewhere than in Church. But I incline to the opinion that many of the hymns will never be used, in private or in public.
Again, the Hymnal is lumbered up with many hymns which from the crankiness of the metre are not singable, and never can become popular. Two hundred hymns might very well be thrown out at random, and no harm done to the interests of the Church and evangelical piety.
The Committee did not in my humble opinion give enough care to their work. They did not rely enough upon their own taste and judgment, but condescended too much to old grannies to whose ignorance and prejudices they seem too much disposed to pander. Think only of their inserting a hymn for "The Churching of Women," and not providing a hymn for the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary!
I am very glad that you have called attention to the distinction of O and Oh!--an exclamation, by the way, that has become somewhat more common since the production of the Committee's labors has come before the eyes of the Church.
Your articles, I am sure, must do good eventually. Ever most truly as of old, your friend
J. IRELAND TUCKER.
James S. Biddle, Esq. Phil'a.
Not long before the assembling of the next General Convention, Doctor Tucker writes again; he still objects to the selection of the hymns.
April 8th, 1874.
MY DEAR MR. BIDDLE:
Please excuse my tardiness in replying to your note of the 12th ult.
I have the best authority for attributing No. 433 to Prof. John De Wolfe. One of his relations now living, I believe, in Providence, R. I., claims it as a family heirloom. , .
With respect to alterations in the Hymnal, I am in favor of omissions. When I return from a visit to New York, I will write you again, and tell you what I would throw out. I need now only say that in some instances the hymns are unsingable and can never be used as "Spiritual songs."
I am very glad to know that you are giving your attention to this matter of revision. I would advise in the interest of the publishers not to make too many alterations. Ever yours most truly
J. IRELAND TUCKER. Mr. James S. Biddle, Pa.
When Mr. Biddle kindly forwarded the letters here quoted, he wrote: "We were not correspondents, and I believe he was wont to neglect answering letters. You know Palmerston used to say that it was all fudge--this punctuality about replying immediately: that if you let things be, most letters answered themselves in three or four days. This was Dr. T.'s practice, I suppose."
Every now and then I have heard remarks, made by those who knew him best, to the effect that Doctor Tucker did not like to write letters. A complaint has come to hand, from one who by letter had begged permission to reprint a tune from the Hymnal, that no answer was vouchsafed. Farther back in time, when I was to be ecclesiastical neighbor of Doctor Tucker, I once wrote him, asking for suggestions about a question of service: up to the present no answer has been received.
The appetite grows by what it feeds on, for it became evident later that he went so far as not to open many letters addressed to him. He deferred the ceremony associated with an unpleasant result. After he had been called hence, a considerable number of unopened letters was found among his effects.
The Doctor used to plead for himself in justification of his neglect about correspondence, that as his mail increased it brought so many begging letters--by the wholesale--also missives asking what organ builder should be employed, or what bell founder; or what priest should be called to a vacant parish, or where a family servant might be procured, that it became impossible to keep up with the rapid ratio of the multiplication of these epistles. He was forced to take refuge in a masterly inactivity.
His matured feeling was evidenced by a remark made when his organist and coworker was abroad. Mr. Rousseau had found illustrated postal cards, containing pictures of European resorts. Some of these he had used in the writings sent to his home. They contained a few condensed phrases in the style of a telegram. One of these was picked up by Doctor Tucker, who looked at it and said: "How much better that is than a great long letter!"
The failing--if such it be--has been referred to as the only flaw in the character of Doctor Tucker. No one knew of any other. And whenever this little foible is remembered, his dear friends smile affectionately, as when they used to be gladdened by his genial, joyful presence. They are happy to think that their saint, true exponent of the title, was yet a human being.
Despite the peculiarity, correspondence went on briskly about the time of the appearance of the first musical Church hymnal. To its editor many letters were sent, some of which are at hand. It will be interesting to quote portions of these answers to inquiry; so we may have a glimpse at the inside working, the making of a renowned manual. Further, it may be a satisfaction to unprofessional folk to note how musical composers talk when they make use of the ordinary language of speech. Some of their names are recorded high up upon the tablets of the temple.
Jan. 5, 1872.
MY DEAR SIR:
Your first letter did reach me, and I congratulated myself on the good fortune which had brought me so kind a greeting from the "other side of the Atlantic." But I had the ill-luck or ill-management to lose the letter: how, I cannot tell, in coming home from King's College: and I could not recall your address: so I had it not in my power to thank you.
I now lose no time in acknowledging your second favor, received this morning, and hope to post the tunes for which you ask me, by the mail following.
You seem to "reckon up "the doings in the old country at short intervals, or you would not have been aware of my concern with the Scottish Hymnal.
I had a copy sent me, some time since, of the volume brought out in 1859 by the "Committee appointed for the purpose by the House of Bishops" at New York: but it has not struck me as exhibiting a high taste in Church music. In the intervening 20 years you have been, I dare hope, able to make some advances, tho' one picks up from American friends, now and then, little bits of information which do not, so far as they go, indicate anything like strictness, in the popular feeling.
We must, of course, labor on to keep up and improve that feeling, while we try, too, to give the people something they can sing with pleasure.
With all good wishes for the New Year,
Very truly yours
W. H. MONK. The Rev. J. Ireland Tucker, &c. &c.
The same correspondent writes on the 7th of April:
You will be interested to know, perhaps, that I am just asked to correct for the press a collection of Chants for the Scotch Presbyterian Church--the authorities of which are about for the first time to try to introduce the practice--not, as some of them think, to succeed in our time.
Jan. 1st, 18/2. REV'D. AND DEAR SIR:
I am a bad hymn writer; it is by no means my forte. But if you will send me some words to which you wish music set, I will do what I can with pleasure. You speak of terms. Under ordinary circumstances I would of course make you a present of any work of mine. But I am collecting money for rebuilding my organ, and therefore, without naming any sum, I will merely say that I will thankfully receive any contribution you may like to make towards the above object, by way of acknowledgment of the hymn tunes I hope to send you.
I have by no means forgotten our intercourse at Rome in 1851, especially our very pleasant musical evenings at Miss Seeley's. If ever you come to this part of the world, I hope you will come to see me, and I will let you hear some really first-rate Church music, and I can introduce you to some of the finest organs, organists and choirs in the world.
Yours very truly
FREDERICK A. GORE OUSELEY.
Dr. Dykes is modest when he comes to speak of remuneration, although his contributions are second to none in value.
ST. OSWALD'S VICARAGE,
Jan. 13, 1872.
My DEAR SIR:
I must offer my sincere apologies for my long delay in answering your obliging letters.
Two difficulties have presented themselves to me in reference to your letter: 1st, the question of terms: 2nd, the character and authority of the proposed book itself.
To begin with this second point. I was puzzled, not long after receiving your first obliging letter, by receiving a communication from Mr. -----, informing me that he was appointed musical Editor of the American Hymnal to which you referred, and requesting me to help him in his work.
So the question arises: are yourself and he engaged in the same work? Is yours a mere private speculation, or his, or both? Or are they both undertaken with the sanction of the Convention? Are they, in fact, opposition works, or are they not? For it seems a pity that there should be a division of energy and forces, a frittering away of resources. Much better that there should be a combination, so as to have one strong book instead of two weak ones.
Then as to terms. I have never been accustomed to write for money, although I have frequently had an "Honorarium" sent me for work done. I therefore seem hardly to know what is a fair remuneration to ask for tunes sent.
As far as feeling is concerned I would much rather not take anything. But when a man has a large parish, and a family growing up, and is not .overburdened with this world's goods, and finds considerable difficulty in making both ends meet, I suppose there is nothing objectionable in his resorting to any legitimate means which GOD'S good Providence may throw in his way for enabling him to pay his just and lawful debts, and obtain a little help for those who are dependent on him.
Often as I have contributed to Hymnals, the first and only time that I ever received so much per tune, was in the case of the very last work that I wrote for. In this case the Editor insisted on sending me 3 guineas for every tune. I told him that it seemed to me a good deal: but he never would send less.
There is one benefit in keeping the remuneration rather high, as it prevents the needless multiplication of tunes. And really, we are being so deluged with tunes nowadays (I myself am sometimes quite bewildered with applications from all kinds of quarters) that I am disposed to consider any reasonable check upon their too exuberant production a real benefit.
However, I would almost rather that you yourself should suggest what you consider a proper remuneration for tunes, as I have no desire to do anything unreasonable.
Enclosed I send you tunes for the 3 hymns you were good enough to forward to me. "Rock of Ages," of course, is a beautiful, almost unequalled hymn. But why not have all 4 verses?
The other two hymns I do not think much of. I hope they are not a specimen of the average hymns in the Authorized Hymnal. I have done my best, and set them to tunes of a rather melodious character, as I suppose in your country there is a feeling for and appreciation of melody; and if the people cannot get good religious melodies, they will get hold of secular melodies for their hymns.
Any more hymns that you may think good to send me, I shall be happy to endeavor to set, to the best of my power.
With kind regards and renewed apologies for my delay, I beg to remain
My Dear Sir Very faithfully yours
JOHN B. DYKES.
P. S.--I am not now Precentor of Durham. I resigned that office when I took my present living.
Dr. Dykes writes again, on the 29th of April, from Firgrove Lodge, Weybridge, Surrey:
Having been away from home for some little time, and on the move, it is only a few days ago that I received your kind and friendly note with the enclosed cheque, for which I beg to offer you my best thanks.
I am glad to hear of you, explanation of Mr. -----'s relations with the General Convention, that they are not of any direct and formal nature; for I had rather gathered from his communication that he and he alone was authorized to edit the musical edition of the Hymnal.
Would it be possible to obtain a copy of this Hymnal in England? For, if so, it would probably be more convenient (in case, at any future time, you should require help from me) that you should simply refer to the number of the hymn or hymns for which you are in want of a musical setting, than that you should send me loose slips which are always in danger of being lost.
Moreover I should feel more interest in the work, were I to see it in its entireness, and learn something of its general tone and character. I am sorry to hear your account of it: but with the divided state of parties in the Church, what is one to expect from an authorized manual representing all parties, but a somewhat colorless and timid production? Our "Hymns Ancient and Modern" being a private work, has been an immense boon to our Church at home, and has stopped, at least for a time, any attempt at an authoritative hymnal. It has been wonderfully blessed by GOD in greatly raising the tone of the Churchmanship throughout the English Communion.
Let the many American composers be represented by a single example, as follows:
Feb. 5, 1872.
REV. AND DEAR BROTHER:
Yours is just received. I leave tomorrow for Malone, to attend the Convocation of Ogdensburgh, and shall not be back for several days. So I send you the music for the Dies Ira at once, without the words--not knowing how they may have been cooked by the Committee. If the last three couplets have been arranged as two triplets, you will set them to the first of the three strains. . . . It is a botch if they have done it, though! Those couplets are an exquisite relief after the long continuance of the other.
I can't bear the idea of setting the Vexilla Regis to anything but its own tune, but the compressed form of the melody is more manageable to modern ears than the more expanded which is given in H. A. & M. I send a barred and countable modernization, which perhaps may answer.
I send you also an arrangement of the glorious old Pange Lingua, which is less cranky than some. It may not be unwelcome.
As to brother X--may brother X be-----criticized!
Yr. ob't. serv. in the Church
J. H. H.
[John Henry Hopkins.] The Rev. Dr. Tucker.
The first "Children's Hymnal "came out in the year 1874. Among the letters at hand, there are some dated that year, signed by names to be remembered, such as Arthur S. Sullivan and John Hullah. The book of 1874 was notable not only on account of its contents--which according to its own announcement were planned for little ones who "may be disposed to sing Sacred music more frequently than on one day of the week "--but also for the quite charming illustrative pictures scattered through its pleasant pages.