King of Glory, King of Peace (Charles H. Giffen)
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,415
    First some background. Published posthumously in 1633, George Herbert's collection The Temple contains several marvelous poems that have become hymn texts or otherwise have been set to music - notably, Ralph Vaughan Williams's Five Mystical Songs and the hymn "King of Glory, King of Peace" which, at least in England is usually sung to the tune GWALCHMAI (although in the U.S. it is perhaps just as often set to GENERAL SEMINARY or REPTON REDLAND). I don't know if this represents a certain dissatisfaction here with GWALCHMAI (or perhaps that it is sometimes used here with the text "Christ the Lord is Ris'n Today"), but GWALCHMAI strikes me as being just about perfect for the George Herbert text.

    Be that as it may, I have set "King of Glory, King of Peace" to my tune GRAF (repurposed from 76. 76. D to 74. 74. D), and I think it is a good fit. GRAF is itself based in part on Johann Rosenmüller's STRAF MICH NICHT (or WÜRTEMBURG). Here then is the setting, in which the Alto part, transposed up an octave, becomes a descant for the second stanza, while a separately composed descant is supplied for the third stanza.

    One final comment is in order. The hymn is set from the seven two line stanzas of Herbert's poem, taken in pairs & omitting the sixth stanza. That sixth stanza is itself quite poignant and it is unfortunate that it gets omitted in these settings (including my own):

    Thou grew'st soft and moist with tears,
      Thou relentedst:
    And when Justice call'd for fears,
      Thou dissentedst.

    I have been contemplating a workaround that I may post here soon. In the meantime, I hope the present setting to GRAF is pleasing both to the ear but also to the voice.
  • Beautiful.
    I have never heard this text set to REPTON. But I may use this tune in the future for this text.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • marymezzomarymezzo
    Posts: 204
    Charles, this is gorgeous . . . and is making me rethink my lineup for Christ the King. :-)
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • kevinfkevinf
    Posts: 1,117
    I love this tune, even though my choirs sing it to General Seminary. I think this will fit my girls group very easily, especially with the descants.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Oh my goodness.

    I have always loved this text and your setting is absolutely splendid!

    (I can't imagine how this would work with REPTON... isn't that
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,415
    Oops, not REPTON, but REDLAND (by Malcolm Archer) - my brain must have been off in la-la-land.
    I've corrected the original post.

    Thanks for all the kind comments. If a recording could be made of a performance, I'd love to have a copy.
    Thanked by 1Anna_Bendiksen
  • sdtalley3sdtalley3
    Posts: 93
    @ CHGiffen
    I love the text and melody, but my mind couldn’t help but think of, “In the Bleak Midwinter” by Gustav Holst, when I heard it.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,415
    Here (as alluded to above) is my setting of all seven stanzas of George Herbert's "King of Glory, King of Peace" to my hymn tune GRAF. The descant structure remains basically the same: Alto part up an octave for the first descant (stanzas 3&4), and a through composed descant (more or less patterned on the one given the earlier setting) for the final 3 stanzas.

  • This is wonderful. Beautiful text set to beautiful music. I'm glad you found a way to put all seven stanzas in. I think having the second half of the verse repeated at the end is a nice way to finish it. Well done.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen marymezzo
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,415
    Here are a "hymnal" score (1 page, no descants) and a "choir" score for "King of Glory, King of Peace."

    Thanked by 1marymezzo