Tuesday, January 17, 2012

`My song is love unknown' (hymn)

Recently, I heard a moving hymn, `My song is love unknown' (1664) by Samuel Crossman (1624-1683) and w/s found this post by Rupert Christiansen (in U.K.'s The Telegraph) for a story behind it.

Actually, what moved me was its tune, Love Unknown (1918) by John Ireland (1879-1962). Set to it, some contemporary churches know better the words, `Oft when of God we ask' by English Congregational minister Thomas Toke Lynch (1818-1871, more here).

During the 254 years that passed before Ireland wrote his, I wonder which tune the Crossman hymn used? There's currently no answer in Wikipedia's article. I found a list of alternate tunes for the text, but all are of poorer quality IMO for the words compared to Ireland's; it seems no wonder he was inspired to compose it, perhaps!

Crossman as a family name would seem to suggest to a boy, BTW, thinking about religion. However, that speculation remains unconfirmed by Wikipedia's article on Crossman.

Copyright (c) 2012 Mark D. Blackwell.

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