On Sunday we sing the great hymn, "Alleluia! Sing to Jesus!" as we observe the Ascension and the 7th (and last) Sunday of the Easter season.
The text of this well-loved hymn was written by William Chatterton Dix, and first appeared in his collection Altar Songs, in 1867. Dix was the manager of a marine insurance company, as well as a gifted writer. His fine contributions to hymnody are contained in several collections. He is also the author of the popular Christmas Carol, “What Child is This.”
“Alleluia! Sing to Jesus!” is a text rich in biblical imagery and centered in the following New Testament passages: John 6: 41-59; Hebrews 9:11-14; and Revelation 5:9. Dix’s originally titled the hymn, “Redemption by the Precious Blood.”
The tune HYFRYDOL, meaning “good cheer” or “joyful,” was written by Rowland Hugh Prichard at the age of twenty. Prichard was well-known as precentor and writer of fine hymn tunes, many of which were printed in Welsh periodicals. Later in his life he was a loom-tender’s assistant in the Welsh Flannel Company.
The structure of HYFRYDOL is unique in that its entire range is entirely within a fifth, or a five-note range, except for a rise to the sixth scale degree in the last line. At its onset the hymn’s structure appears to be a common AABA pattern, yet its last two phrases provide interesting variants on B, which provide for an effective conclusion.
I look forward to singing this great hymn with all of you on Sunday! Its tune is rousing. Its text is a great summation of the our Lenten and Easter journey, and for me, provides a foundation for our work in this world. I'd love to know your thoughts about this hymn, too. Leave them in the comments below.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Minister of Music