Gollum’s Favorite Hymn
Text and music: H. R. Palmer (1834-1907)
Tune name: PRECIOUS
If Middle Earth had its own hymnal, this would be Gollum’s favorite.
Can’t you just hear him singing it?
He may find it “precious,” I’m not sure I’d go that far.
It’s a decent hymn. I’m not crazy about it.
The text is beautiful, for sure. And while the music is pleasant and somewhat calming, it doesn’t fully depict my feelings for the Savior. The first 6 bars are a little to repetitive for me. I like the 3rd line, especially the end. But the end of the 3rd line has some chromaticism that, while sound lovely, doesn’t seem to fit the mood of the text. It’s a little too barbershop-y for my taste.
My favorite part is the fermata moment in the last line. At long last we get something other than the 1 or 5 chord, apart form the chromatic bit at the end of the 3rd line (the slip from G-major to B-flat major by means of a common tone, the D is a nice one). We get a 4 chord on A-flat.
Delayed gratification is one thing. This is taking it a bit too far.
I do like the final cadence. Like the fermata in the 3rd line, the tenor steps down by half step to the final chord. The last 3 chords are, a 7 diminished chord of B-flat (A-C-E-flat), then a B-flat 7 chord, then the final 1 chord. It works well. But it’s too little too late for my liking.
I suppose only using the 1 chord and 5 chord for so much of the piece depicts a simple, tender feeling. But it feels bland to me. My feelings for the Savior are more emotional than that. I would do more to get the congregation feeling something other than a simple toggling back and forth between 1 and 5. But that’s just me.
I’m not sure I have any more to say about the hymn. It could be better.
But I’m glad Gollum like it. Anything to bring him closer to his maker…
Tomorrow we’ll talk about a real classic.
See you then!
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Commentary form “The Bench Warmer”
by Jason Gunnell, Organist
I think my remarks for this hymn may be brief today as I am somewhat ambivalent to this hymn, at least in the sense that I have much less of an opinion about this hymn’s qualities or lack thereof relative to the last four hymns we have reviewed. In fact, I think this is a fine hymn, even if it is not one of the best. I think it a solid hymn.
I think the tempo suggestion for this hymn is just fine, in fact I was about in the middle when I checked how fast I would play it. I think care should be taken to play the dotted eighth-sixteenth rhythm with exactness, otherwise it becomes a triplet, and I think that would be not the best outcome. I would again use a more quiet registration for this hymn.
Registration Starting Point:
Great: Principal 8’, Flute 8’
Swell: Principal 8’, Flute 8’, 4’, String 8’
Pedal: Principal 16’, 8’, Bourdon 16’, Flute 8’
Possible Final Verse Additions:
Swell: Flute 2’