Favourite Hymns

Many of us have hymns and pieces of music that we hold dear. Everyone tends to have a favourite hymn and, often, an accompanying story.

In order to keep our congregation connected to the music of St Andrew’s during the Covid lockdown, Shaun, our Director of Music, took on the project of recording a number of hymns chosen by our congregation. We have saved these recordings here, along with a little background information for each hymn, so that you can enjoy them again.

Great is thy faithfulness

Great is thy Faithfulness was written by Thomas Chisholm (1866_1960) with music composed by William M. Runyan (1870_1957) in America. The words attest to the changelessness of God and gained huge popularity from its association with Billy Graham. Shaun Yong 1. Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father.There is no shadow of turning with…

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Be still, my soul

‘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 took…

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All things bright and beautiful

‘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 ‘Once…

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Praise my soul the King of Heaven

‘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 own…

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Calon Lân

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 great…

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Eternal Father, strong to save

‘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 this…

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Guide me, O thou great Redeemer

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’ with…

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Dear Lord and Father of mankind

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 music…

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Thine be the glory

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 to…

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Love divine all loves excelling

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,…

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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 this recording, I’m…

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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, during the choir season.) We rehearse in English.

Our Director of Music 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 Director of Music, Shaun Yong