Hymns Ancient & Modern: A Favourite Collection

Ref: CDG1287

1 O God our help in ages past
2 How sweet the name of Jesus sounds
3 Jesu, the very thought of thee
4 To the name of our salvation
5 To Christ the Prince of peace
6 Rock of ages cleft for me
7 Jesu lover of my soul
8 Rejoice, the Lord is King
9 O Holy Spirit, Lord of Grace
10 Gracious Spirit, Holy Ghost
11 The church's one foundation
12 God of mercy, God of grace
13 Let saints on earth in concert sing
14 Jerusalem the golden
15 Ye choirs of new Jerusalem
16 Light's glittering morn bedecks the sky
17 Jesus Christ is risen today
18 When I survey the wondrous cross
19 There is a green hill far away
20 Crown him with many crowns
21 Now my tongue the mystery telling
22 Be thou my guardian and my guide
23 Through all the changing scenes of life


Choir of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge
Directed by David Skinner
Jamal Sutton, organ

Recorded in the chapel of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge by kind permission of the Master and Fellows

CCL CDG1287
Cover image: Rural scene with church (Print User's Yearbook) c Mary Evans Picture Library / John Maclellan
P & C 2007

Hymns Ancient and Modern is one of our earliest and greatest English language hymnals. Unusually for a successful publication, it came about as the outcome of a committee which had begun formal work in 1859. The committee gave itself the job of bringing together the music and texts of the many and diverse hymnals and other publications which had sprung up in the wake of the Oxford movement, a religious movement which had sought, amongst other things, to raise the standards of liturgical observance in the Anglican church of the mid-nineteenth century. New hymns and new translations of ancient works were brought together into a new collection which largely eradicated the need for any other hymnal: and the committee was so successful in their work that, following publication of the first edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern in 1861, four and a half million copies were sold within the next seven years. The hymnal was reprinted and revised many times, and indeed is still going strong today.

At the time of its compilation Hymns Ancient and Modern really was a mixture of the old and the new. Translations of old Latin hymns from the ancient church, such as Light's glittering morn, crafted in the main by JM Neale, who was probably the greatest and most poetic of hymn scholars of the age, rubbed shoulders with new hymns, such as God of mercy, God of grace, which were products of the Evangelical movement which had swept through the Victorian church alongside the Oxford movement. Each hymn in our recorded collection is distinguished in some way, either because of its composer, its author, or both. The information given below is taken from the 1889 edition and its second supplement of 1916. The detail is less precise than a modern scholar might wish for, but it is nevertheless reproduced here because of the character which it reveals about the hymnal.

Hymn Composer Tune Author
O God our help in ages past William Croft 1708 St Anne Isaac Watts 1719
How sweet the name of Jesus sounds A.R. Reinagle (1799-1877) St Peter J Newton 1779
Jesu, the very thought of thee R Redhead Metzler's Redhead E Caswall: from the Latin
To the name of our salvation Ett, Cantica Sacra 1840 Oriel JM Neale: from the Latin
To Christ the Prince of peace H J Gauntlett St George E Caswall: from the Latin
Rock of ages cleft for me R Redhead Petra A M Toplady 1775
Jesu lover of my soul JB Dykes Hollingside C Wesley 1740
Rejoice, the Lord is King GF Handel Gopsal C Wesley 1746
O Holy Spirit, Lord of Grace Thomas Tallis 1567 Tallis J Chandler: from the Latin
Gracious Spirit, Holy ghost Sir J Stainer Charity Bishop C Wordsworth
The church's one foundation SS Wesley Aurelia SJ Stone
God of mercy, God of grace J Crueger 1598-1662 Creuger J Montgomery 1821
Let saints on earth in concert sing T Ravenscroft 1621 Dundee C Wesley
Jerusalem the golden A Ewing Ewing JM Neale
Ye choirs of new Jerusalem HJ Gauntlett St Fulbert H Campbell
Light's glittering morn bedecks the sky Catholische Kirchengesaenge 1623 Easter Song JM Neale
Jesu Christ is risen today Lyra Davidica 1708 Easter Hymn Lrya Davidica 1708
When I survey the wondrous cross E Miller 1735-1807 Rockingham Isacc Watts 1707
There is a green hill far away W Horsley Horsley Mrs Alexander
Crown him with many crowns Sir G Elvey Diademata M Bridges 1851
Now my tongue the mystery telling French Tantum ergo E Caswall
Be thou my guardian and my guide I Smith 1770 Abridge I Williams
Through all the changing scenes of life Sir G Smart 1798 Wiltshire N Tate and N Brady 1696