Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Treasure No. 7: The Hymnal 1940

While The Hymnal 1940 is more than 70 years old, it is widely used in the Continuing Anglican Churches along with the 1928 Prayer Book. At least one website (which, by the way, is a Roman Catholic website) touts it as "the best hymnal ever to appear in the English-speaking world." In this article from Bulletin No. 34, January 1946 of The Hymn Society of Great Britain & Ireland the late Eric Routley offers a refreshingly honest appraisal of the strengths and weaknesses of The Hymnal 1940. He wrote the article three years after The Hymnal 1940's publication in 1943.

Dr. Routley was an English Congregational minister, composer and musicologist. He was educated at Lancing College and Magdalen and Mansfield Colleges in Oxford. He was chaplain of Mansfield from 1948 to 1959 and then held appointments as minister in Edinburgh and Newcastle before becoming Professor of Church Music at Westminster Choir College, Princeton, New Jersey in 1975. He died in 1982.

Dr. Routley edited Congregational Praise (1951) and The University Carol Book (1961). At the time of his death he was general editor of Rejoice in the Lord: A Hymn Companion to the Scriptures (1989). He also authored critical and historical works on hymnody, church music and carols. He wrote the preface to the Summit Choir Book. In addition, he wrote more than 25 hymns and composed the hymn tune Sharpthorne. Read Article

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