Whilst we cannot sing together in church, many of us have hymns and pieces of music we hold dear. Everyone tends to have a favourite hymn and, often, an accompanying story.
Let us know what it is and, if you like, why or whether there happens to be a story behind it.
Each week, Shaun, our Music Director, can record a hymn chosen by a member of the congregation or search out a choral version for us to enjoy.
He will also provide some background to the hymn, its writer and the music that goes with it (so you don’t have to do that).
Simply email your favourite hymn title and any accompanying story (click link below) and we’ll arrange the rest.
‘Be still, my soul’ was originally an 18th century German pietist hymn by Catharina von Schlegel. It was translated into English in 1862 by Jane Borthwick in Edinburgh. The tune we now associate the words with came from Finland by the composer Jean Sibelius, who wrote a patriotic symphonic poem called ‘Finlandia’. But it tookContinue reading “Favourite Hymns – Be still, my soul”
‘All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small, all things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all.’ This is a hymn that celebrates the creation in which we live and which we are. It’s widely popular in churches, school chapels, and even beyond the church. Cecil Frances Alexander (1818-95), of ‘OnceContinue reading “Favourite Hymns – All thing bright and beautiful”
‘Praise my soul the King of heaven’ is a paraphrase of Psalm 103 by Henry Francis Lyte, who published it in 1834. It is sung to a tune by John Goss (1800-80) which has achieved universal popularity. Unique among hymns, Goss wrote a different accompaniment to each of the four verses, each with its ownContinue reading “Favourite Hymns – Praise my soul the King of Heaven”
Calon Lân, which means ‘a pure heart’, is a Welsh song written in the 1890s by Daniel James. The tune was written by John Hughes. Although the song is known for its association with rugby, the text, which is a prayer for a pure heart, has little to do with the game! Like all greatContinue reading “Favourite Hymns – Calon Lân”
‘Eternal Father, strong to save’ also known as the Royal Navy Hymn, is a 19th century English hymn traditionally associated with seafarers. Written by William Whiting in 1860, it is a prayer of safe passage ‘for those in peril on the sea’. The popular Victorian hymn composer John Bacchus Dykes wrote the tune to thisContinue reading “Favourite Hymns – Eternal Father”
Guide me, O thou great Redeemer ‘Guide me, O though great redeemer’ is without doubt one of the great Welsh hymns. It has a tune that is difficult to forget and a text that is personal but not sentimental. The words contemporises the Exodus from Egypt, so that the singer identifies their own ‘pilgrim’ withContinue reading “Favourite Hymns – Guide me, O thou great Redeemer”
Dear Lord and Father of mankindThe second line runs, “Forgive our foolish ways…..”, which I’m sure we quickly forget ! Notes on the music by our organistThis is one of the hymns where music and words are so inextricably married to each other. Hubert Parry wrote the tune, but it was the director of musicContinue reading “Favourite Hymns”
À toi la gloire Nothing shouts ‘Easter’ like this grand hymn at the end of an Easter Day service. The tune is taken from the oratorio ‘Judas Maccabaeus’ by that great German-turned-Englishman Handel. The text, however, was written in French by a Swiss minister Edmond Budry (1854-1932), and afterwards translated to English. Another twist toContinue reading “Thine be the glory”
Love divine all love’s excelling – this great hymn by Charles Wesley isamong the most universally published hymns in hymnbooks of allpersuasions. And yet there was little agreement on what tune it shouldbe set to: contenders included “Beecher”, “Love divine” (by Stainer), oreven that grand Welsh tune “Hyfrydol” – but in recent decades anotherWelsh tune,Continue reading “Favourite Hymns”
Amazing Grace Amazing Grace is perhaps the most well-known Christian hymn of all time. It was written in 1772 by John Newton, who through a compelling spiritual experience, turned from a slave-trader into an abolitionist. The tune it is now sung it to was written in 1835 by William Walker, an American composer. In thisContinue reading “Favourite Hymns”
Everyone tends to have a favourite hymn and, often, an accompanying story. Let us know what it is and, if you like, why or whether there happens to be a story behind it. (or perhaps you may simply like the tune or the words) Easy – simply email your favourite hymn title and any accompanyingContinue reading “Coming soon… your favourite hymns”
Music at St Andrew’s
The choir of St Andrew’s Zurich is a robed, SATB, volunteer choir. We sing at the Sunday services from September to June, as well as a monthly weekday Choral Evensong. (Choir practices are normally on Thursdays from 6.30 to 8.30pm during the choir season.) We rehearse in English.
Our Music Director is always pleased to meet prospective singers throughout the year. The ability to read music is essential, and some choral experience is desirable. If you are interested in singing with us, please do get in touch!
Email our Music Director, Shaun Yong