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Hymn of the week: “Come, let us join our cheerful songs”

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The 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Come, let us join our cheerful songs
with angels round the throne;
ten thousand thousand are their tongues,
but all their joys are one.

Here we have another piece from the prolific hymnist Isaac Watts, appropriate for the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time. This is one of his most widely known hymns and has been used by many composers in the nearly 400 years since it was written.

This rendition was composed by Percy Whitlock in 1945. Whitlock was a contemporary of Vaughan Williams and Charles Stanford, with whome he attended London’s Royal College of Music. He served as Director of Music at St Stephen’s Church, Bournemouth, for five years, during which time he wrote the majority of his hymns and sacred works.

Unfortunately, Whitlock’s catalogue is limited as he died of tuberculoses just a few days before his 43rd birthday. His music was largely unrecognized for decades after his death, but now his compositions have become somewhat popular thanks to the the activities and publications of the Percy Whitlock Trust, founded in 1983.

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