Please turn your hymnals to number 136 and join the clarinets in, “Come Thou Almighty King”.
First Line: Come Thou Almighty King
Meter: 6 6 4, 6 6 6 4.
Music: Felice de Giardini, 1716-96
Text: Authorship Uncertain
Whitefield’s Collection, 1757 a.
This is an interesting hymn. A tad more musically interesting than most. It moves from contrasting harmony parts, to a unison refrain, and back to harmony.
Felice Giardini was born in Turin. When it became clear that he was a child prodigy, his father sent him to Milan. There he studied singing, harpsichord and violin but it was on the latter that he became a famous virtuoso. By the age of 12, he was already playing in theater orchestras. In a famous incident about this time, Giardini, who was serving as assistant concertmaster (i.e. leader of the orchestra) during an opera, played a solo passage for violin which the composer Niccolò Jommelli had written. He decided to show off his skills and improvised several bravura variations which Jommelli had not written. Although the audience applauded loudly, Jommelli, who happened to be there, was not pleased and suddenly stood up and slapped the young man in the face. Giardini, years later, remarked, “it was the most instructive lesson I ever received from a great artist.”
Clarinet Arrangement: 136-ComeThouAlmightKing