Monday, 10 July 2006
According to the grapevine, WCG has recently placed all of Dwight Armstrong's hymns into the public domain, which means they're available for anyone who wants to make use of them.
Poor old Dwight got a bad press in some quarters. His hymns were described as dirges, and there were dark mutterings about plagiarism of tunes. But I have to say, after growing up with the very real dirges of Lutheran liturgy and hymnody, I found them (or at least some of them) quite refreshing when I first started attending. There is nothing as plain awful as a badly tuned organ accompanying a badly tuned congregation singing something that should have received a decent burial in the 16th century.
As for the plagiarism: it seems to have been something of an Armstrong family tradition. The words were from the Psalms, so I guess that was okay. The tunes are apparently suspiciously similar to a Scottish Psalter of long ago. If Dwight managed to make a buck out of his brother's paranoia about Protestant songs, well, that's fine by me. I hope he at least got his tithes back.
These days it may be all praise choruses and waving arms, but the old purple book still has its charms... kind of.
5 Personal favorites:
How Excellent in all the Earth (7)
O Eternal who shall dwell (14)
For Even from my Youth O God (52)
Holy Mighty Majesty (75)
He Shall Reign for Evermore (78) - complete with a "melancholy sparrow" :)
5 Personal un-favorites:
By the Waters of Babylon (103) - now the Boney M version I liked!
Blest and Happy Is the Man (1) - this one was thrashed to death
Let Thy Chastening be in Measure (31) - "my loins are filled with burning" :o
But as for me I'll call on God (45) - top of the hit parade when GTA was chucked out
O Pity Me, Be Gracious God (47) - and pity anyone trying to sing this one!