“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 many of us today, some choral singers might remember him from the old edition of Oxford Easy Anthems as several of his pieces are found in that anthology. For some 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 for listening!
“Prelude on Down Ampney”
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.