The Least Programmed Gallop-Hymn
Text and music: Evan Stephens (1854-1930; LDS)
Tune name: NINES
Hymn #91 is at the tippy top of my “have-the-ward-choir-sing-soon” list.
It’s so much fun! I enjoy the fast gallop and the big leaps in the tune.
I can see why it’s not programmed much, or ever, in Sacrament meeting. Most ward organists have a look at the bass line and have a mental freak out. YEAH, RIGHT!
The structure of the hymn is relatively simple. There are 4 phrases. A, A’, B, A’.
The tune beings up at the top of the register and in unison. With an energetic dotted-eighth sixteenth series of rhythms, the unison voices come crashing down to the “glad, grateful song…” and an authentic cadence on the 1 chord.
The second phrase, starting with “For thy protecting…” begins with the exact same tune for 2 bars. The last 2 bars of the phrase take a slight deviation from the A phrase and hit the high D one more time before a stepwise descend to low D (G-F#-E-D).
The third phrase takes on a bit of a chromatic journey. We start with the 5 chord, the A chord. Then we get some G#s, D#s and even an A#. The G#s and D#s give us the flavor of E major, the 5 of the 5 in this key. The A# tonicizes the B minor 6 chord for a brief moment on “Which with its truth…” before making its way to a cadence on the 5 chord with another E major chord right before it. After this 4 bar chromatic bridge, we once again get…
As happens in many hymns, the final phrase mirrors the 2nd phrase exactly.
This is one of my 2 favorite Evan Stephens hymns. The other is a Sacrament hymn. We’ll get there in a couple months.
That’s all for today.
Have a good one!
Commentary from “The Bench Warmer”
by Jason Gunnell, Organist
I quite like this rousing and energetic hymn, and find it a very good pedal exercise! The committee omitted a verse of this hymn, which is puzzling to me. The reason cited is that since the book would be used in all English-speaking nations, they omitted the verse about the heritage of the early restored church. Yet we have the hymns in the 30s celebrating that heritage. The text is nice, and I think could have stood to remained in the setting, as it is not any more overtly provincial than the other hymns. But that is just me.
I like to take this at a spritely tempo, but keep it slow enough to fit the words in. So I would take it just a bit faster than the suggested tempo, probably around quarter note equal to 108. I would use a nice, bright registration to highlight the brightness of the tune.
Registration Starting Point:
Great: Principal 8’, 4’, 2’, Mixture
Swell: Principal 8’, 4’, 2’, String 8’, Larigot 1 ⅓, Mixture
Pedal: Principal 16’, 8’, 4’, Bourdon 16’, Flute 8’
Possible Final Verse Additions:
Swell: Hautbois 8’ (?)
Pedal: Reed 16’