The hymn tune "Blaenwern" was composed by William Penfro Rowlands (1860 - 1937) and published in 1915. It is used principally with the words "Love Divine, All Loves Excelling" but has also been used with "What a Friend we have in Jesus".
In 2005 it was voted as one of Britain's ten favourite hymns. As "Love Divine" it was selected for the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, and also at the funeral of former British PM Margaret Thatcher.
It's been a very long time since I last regularly accompanied congregational singing. I'm not quite sure why I have suddenly decided to record this hymn, but I've enjoyed doing so.
My parish experience here in Australia was mostly on relatively small instruments and sometimes in dry acoustics, so in using Salisbury for this recording I'm doing something I've not done in real life - playing a hymn tune on a large instrument in a generous acoustic.
It took me some time to establish a secure personal approach to congregational hymn accompaniment. My earliest beginnings - as a teenager in the mid 1970's - saw me suddenly thrust onto the organ stool to "fill in" following the unexpected resignation of the previous organist at my local church. Overnight I was subjected to all manner of pompous, negative criticism from church folk eager to tell me when I was doing something wrong, but genuine informed guidance on how to do it correctly was conspicuous by its absence. It took a move to another church to work as deputy to a trained experienced player to steer me in the right direction.
Keen listeners may be able to identify some of the basic techniques of congregational support which I've employed here. I haven't tried to match registrations exactly to the words, but rather I've just worked through a range of sounds from soft to loud. On hearing it played back I now feel I could have taken it a bit faster. What are your thoughts?