Sir Charles Villiers Stanford (30 September 1852 – 29 March 1924) was an Irish composer, teacher and conductor. Born to a well-off and highly musical family in Dublin, Stanford was educated at the University of Cambridge before studying music in Leipzig and Berlin. While still an undergraduate, Stanford was appointed organist of Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1882, aged 29, he was one of the founding professors of the Royal College of Music, where he taught composition for the rest of his life. From 1887 he was also the professor of music at Cambridge. As a teacher, Stanford was sceptical about modernism, and based his instruction chiefly on classical principles as exemplified in the music of Brahms. Among his pupils were rising composers whose fame went on to surpass his own, such as Gustav Holst and Ralph Vaughan Williams. Stanford composed a substantial number of concert works, including seven symphonies, but his best-remembered pieces are his choral works for church performance, chiefly composed in the Anglican tradition.
This hymn deals with the story of the "wise and foolish virgins" and the "great wedding feast." During this Advent, this dramatic scene doesn't specifically "happen," but the theme about watching and being ready is a centerpiece of the season.
Stanford's tune is an "old-fashioned" one. It's very grand, and is the "sort" of hymn that has pretty much disappeared from our modern worship. The name of the tune is "Geronimo". ;-)
The text is translated from the Greek by Robert Maude, M.A., son of Admiral Moorsom (1831-1911), was born at Cosgrove Priory, and educated at King Edward's School, Birmingham, and Trinity College, Cambridge, B.A., 1854; M.A., 1858.
In 1889, he published "A Historical Companion to Hymns Ancient and Modern,". which is the hymnal where I found the hymn.
Photos of Stanford and Moorsom are attached, and the entire text of the hymn is given in the First Comment.
MUCH more Advent music to follow... :-)