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His are the thousand sparkling rills

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Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (04/04/17)
Composer: Brown, Arthur Henry
Sample Producer: Milan Digital Audio
Sample Set: Salisbury Cathedral Father Willis
Software: Hauptwerk IV
Genre: Hymn
The tune, "Saffron Walden" has always struck me as be a magical one, although I can't say exactly why.

It would be easy to make fun of it, just by playing it as "trite waltz," but the tune itself still "holds on," at least to me.

You don't seem to hear this much any more. It's still sung to the words, "Just as I am" in England, and rarely so in the US, but the sweetly profound Passiontide text is the one the grips and moves me.

The music was composed by Arthur Henry Brown (1830-1926). Almost com­plete­ly self taught, he be­gan playing the or­gan at the age 10. He was organist of the Brentwood Parish Church, Essex (1842-1853); St. Edward’s, Romford (1853-1858); Brentwood Parish Church (1858-1888); St. Peter’s Church, South Weald (from 1889); and Sir Anthony Browne’s School (-1926). A member of the London Gregorian Association, he supported the Oxford Movement (High Church), and pioneered the restoration of plain­chant and Gregorian music in Anglican worship.

The hymn tune takes the name "Saffron Walden" from the area, Essex, where Brown lived and worked.

The text also adds to the magic. It's one of those sweet, refined poems that can speak of the severity of Crucifixion with utter seriousness and sacred purpose, but do so, in a refined and almost gentle way.

These words, written by Cecil Francis Alexander (1818-1895) show a great sensitivity. She is most well known for the immortal words of "Once in royal David's city," and the much more well-known Passiontide hymn, "There is a green hill far away."

I've kept this very simple, as befits the purpose and mood. (Sorry, the pedal seems a bit heavy at the end.)

The score of the hymn is attached, and for those not interested in looking at it, the complete text is given in the first comment.

In addition, a photo of Arthur H. Brown, several of Brentwood Parish Church, one of Mrs. Alexander, and one of a photo of a window in her memory, located in St. Columb's Cathedral, Derry, Ireland.
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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