Please turn your hymnals to number 127 and join with the saxophones on, “Come, Gracious Spirit”.
First Line: Come, Gracious Spirit
Meter: In moderate time
Music: William Knapp, 1698-1768
Text: Simon Browne, 1680-1732
Bass clarinet is in the shop for some work, so for a week, or so, it’s going to be Saxophone Hymns! Some arranging and recording challenges, as they are louder and don’t quite have the same range as clarinets, but it will be a good chance to practice more Sax.
Dorset has its own ‘Shrubsolian composer’ – what the pop music world would call a ‘one-hit wonder’. His name is William Knapp, and his ‘one tune’ is arguably even more memorable than ‘Miles Lane’: it has to this day the reputation of being one of the easiest and most comfortable tunes for a congregation to sing. A remarkable feature of the tune is that, except in one place, it proceeds ‘by step’ (that is, one note up or down), and it is this that makes it so singable. The eminent theologian Dr James Moffatt described it as ‘one of the best congregational tunes ever written’. Knapp called it ‘Wareham’ after the town where he was born. Thanks to him, the town’s name has been perpetuated in hymn-books all over the world for nearly three hundred years.