Music Notes for the Fifth Sunday After Epiphany — February 4, 2024

All Praise to Thee – Text: Francis Bland Tucker (1895-1984) / Music: Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924)

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Written by Francis Bland Tucker (1895-1984) in 1938, All Praise to Thee, this Sunday’s offertory hymn in church, is possibly the finest paraphrase ever written on Philippians 2:5-11. Concluding each stanza with an “Alleluia” prefigures the triumph of the last stanza; the Lordship of Christ thus becomes the sign of victory. The son of a bishop and brother of a Presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, Tucker was educated at the University of Virginia, B.A., 1914, and at Virginia Theological Seminary, B.D., 1920; D.D., 1944. He was ordained deacon in 1918, priest in 1920, after having served as a private in Evacuation Hospital No.15 of the American Expeditionary Forces in France during World War I. From 1925 to 1945, he was rector of historic St. John’s Church, Georgetown, Washington, D.C. Then until retirement in 1967 he was rector of John Wesley’s parish in Georgia, old Christ Church, Savannah.

Although Tucker’s hymn was written to be sung to Ralph Vaughan Williams’ tune “Sine Nomine” (which we typically associate with the hymn For All the Saints), the setting used in our blue Common Praise hymnal, we sing it this morning to Charles Villiers Stanford’s (1852-1924) “Engelberg”, with which it has become more commonly associated. It is a marvelous bit of coincidence that Stanford actually wrote this tune for William W. How’s For All the Saints; either tune pairs beautifully with either hymn.

All praise to thee, for thou, O King divine,
didst yield the glory that of right was thine,
that in our darkened hearts thy grace might shine:

Thou cam’st to us in lowliness of thought;
by thee the outcast and the poor were sought,
and by thy death was God’s salvation wrought:

Let this mind be in us which was in thee,
who wast a servant that we might be free,
humbling thyself to death on Calvary:

Wherefore, by God’s eternal purpose, thou
art high exalted o’er all creatures now,
and given the name to which all knees shall bow:

Let every tongue confess with one accord
in heaven and earth that Jesus Christ is Lord;
and God the Father be by all adored:

Gerald Harder