Carolan’s Devotion (God Immortal, Strong and Holy)

Turloch O’Carolan, arr. J. Elliott
Year of composition
Jill Elliott
Moderate (Grades 4-6)
2 minutes
Folk music
Instrumental parts
Not available

This tune is also known as ’Mrs. Fetherston’, which suggests that Carolan’s ’devotion’ may have no connection with religion! However, to me the melody seems to have a spiritual quality, and I have on several occasions used it as an instrumental at communion. In the melody only form in which it has come down to us it works well as an unaccompanied violin solo, where the strange articulation and dynamic details (unusually, present in the first printed versions) can be given a dramatic interpretation. In a harmonised version they can seem rather incongruous, and the structure is confusing. So, I’ve decided to put some words to the tune - a mishmash of liturgical and biblical quotations, near-quotations and references. I hope the result may be of use to a choir somewhere. Beware! when you listen the piano reduction will play, which may sound horrid.

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