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To Know Christ and to Make Him Known

May 17, 2020: “Prelude on Down Ampney” by Henry Ley and Hymn 516 “Come down, O Love divine”

“Prelude on Down Ampney” by Henry Ley


Hymn 516 “Come down, O Love divine”

This week’s organ piece was written by English organist Henry Ley (1887-1962).  Ley was a contemporary of Ralph Vaughan Williams, the composer of the piece I played last week.  Ley held several prominent church music posts during his career—including his job as organist at Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford (1909-1926).  He also taught organ at the Royal College of Music in London for many years.

Although Ley’s music is not very familiar to a lot of us today, some choral singers might remember him from the old edition of Oxford Easy Anthems—a couple of his pieces are found in that anthology.  For several of his compositions, Ley made use of hymn tunes by contemporary English composers—including the piece for today: the “Prelude on Down Ampney.”   Down Ampney is the tune name of Vaughan Williams’s famous hymn “Come down, O Love divine.”  Another great piece of Ley’s is his choral arrangement of “For All the Saints,” which also makes use of a tune by Vaughan Williams.

For today, please enjoy my performance of Ley’s “Prelude on Down Ampney” as well as my accompaniment for Hymn 516 “Come down, O Love divine.” Thanks very much!

(If you do not see the music link icon, you must click on the above Weekly Music Notes title for May 17, 2020.)

Click to hear Ley’s “Prelude on Down Ampney.”

Click to hear Hymn 516, “Come down, O Love divine.”

1 Come down, O Love divine,
seek thou this soul of mine,
and visit it with thine own ardor glowing;
O Comforter, draw near,
within my heart appear,
and kindle it, thy holy flame bestowing.

2 O let it freely burn,
till earthly passions turn
to dust and ashes in its heat consuming;
and let thy glorious light
shine ever on my sight,
and clothe me round, the while my path illuming.

3 And so the yearning strong,
with which the soul will long,
shall far outpass the power of human telling;
for none can guess its grace,
till Love create a place
wherein the Holy Spirit makes a dwelling.