LEAD ON, O KING ETERNAL ! (alternate tune: "Polperro")

page one of LEAD  ON,  O  KING  ETERNAL !  (alternate tune: "Polperro")

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Full details

NOTE: An MP3 file, using Kontakt sounds, is available online at this site for listening.

This is one of three of my works at this site that originated as undergraduate assignments, the other two being "Come, Ye Faithful, Raise the Strain" (my tune: "Sain Ffagan") and an SSA arrangement of "Holy, Holy, Holy" (tune: "Nicea," by John B. Dykes). The present piece began in 1967 as a TTBB setting of Allan Cunningham’s "A Wet Sheet and a Flowing Sea." The following year, I reset it SATB with the same text and essentially the same harmony, as it appears at this site except in a quicker tempo. In 1984-1985, while preparing some functional service pieces, I combined the music (which I then named after my ancestral home in Cornwall, England) with Ernest Shurtleff’s text. While this music might not be usable in contemporary worship in the usual sense of that word, it is a relatively unknown, and hence in a sense new, setting of a familiar hymn. As such, it is offered as an alternative to a good hymn tune ("Lancashire") that arguably has become hackneyed through over-use stemming largely from its being good. It is a sad paradox that such all too often is the fate of good hymn tunes. Directors confronting the problem of having no true basses in their ensembles may need to transpose the music upward by as much as a major second. However, I’d prefer that it be left in the warmer key of B-flat if at all possible. Due to the high-ranging soprano line, especially in the final ending, I would not recommend transposing it higher than C.

Score ID
Year of composition
Ernest Shurtleff
Easy (Grades 1-3)
2 minutes
Classical music

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