Posts tagged ‘Edward Bairstow’

September 11, 2016

2016-09-11 Notes from the Bench

“The King of Love My Shepherd Is” by Edward Bairstow

A commentary on this week’s music by Dr. James T. Gerber, Music Associate


Sir Edward Cutherbert Bairstow (1874-1946) was an English composer and organist. Bairstow’s compositions are primarily church music; he wrote mostly anthems and service music settings. “The King of Love My Shepherd Is” is a hymn-anthem; an arrangement of a hymn and the melody it is commonly associated with. The text, written by the English hymn-writer Sir Henry Baker (1821-1877), is based on a Welsh version of Psalm 23 (Hymnal 1982, # 645). The melody is the well-known Irish tune, St. Columba. This melody was among those collected by the Irish painter, musician, antiquary, and archaeologist, George Petrie (1789-1866). Charles Villiers Stanford included this melody in his Complete Collection of Irish Music as noted by George Petrie in 1902 as well as the 1904 edition of English hymnal, Hymns Ancient and Modern. Bairstow’s arrangement accentuates the meaning of the text as he depicts moments of tranquility, the flowing waters, the valley of death, and the faithful dwelling within the house of God for eternity.



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