|Composer:||Charles Venn Pilcher|
|Incipit:||13515 43451 23543|
|Copyright:||© Mr. F.E.V. Pilcher;Harmony © Waterlook Music Co., Ltd.|
Through the heart of every city
runs the flow of human need.
'Mid this glass and steel are pulsing
smoldering wick and bruisèd reed.
Has our church a word to offer,
some hope shining from our creed?
Walking through the concrete furrows
Jesus sows the Word as seed.
The 1912 Psalter and earlier editions of the Psalter Hymnal set this text to the tune AUSTRIAN HYMN by Franz J. Haydn. However, because of the tune's association with the Nazi regime of World War II, several North American immigrants and Jewish Christians suggested that it be removed from the hymnal. Synod 1986 of the Christian Reformed Church agreed, and the tune HERMON was chosen. This strong tune features an effective "rocket" (rapidly ascending) figure in three of its four lines. The tune title presumably refers to Mount Hermon, often mentioned in the Bible as a geographical point of reference and noted in Psalm 133 for its natural beauty; the mountain is located to the north of the Golan Heights in Israel.
The scholar/musician and Anglican bishop Charles V. Pilcher (b. Oxford, England, 1879; d. Sydney, Australia, 1961) composed HERMON in Canada in 1935 for his own hymn text "King of Love, O Christ, We Crown Thee." Pilcher was educated at Hertford College, Oxford, ordained in the Church of England in 1903, and briefly served as curate in St. Thomas Church in Birmingham. After moving to Toronto, Canada, in 1906, he began a distinguished career, teaching Greek, Old Testament, and New Testament at Wycliffe College. In 1936 Pilcher was appointed bishop-coadjutor in Sydney in the Anglican Church of Australia, a position he held until 1956. A scholar of Icelandic literature, he published Passion Hymns of Iceland (1913) and Icelandic Christian Classics (1950). Pilcher was also an accomplished musician. He played bass clarinet in the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and served as precentor in several churches. He wrote a number of hymn texts and tunes and contributed them to the Canadian Book of Common Praise (1938) and the Australian Supplement (1947) to the Book of Common Praise. Pilcher also served as secretary to the committee for the Australian hymnbook.
Walter Lewis MacNutt (b. Charlottetown, P.E.I., Canada, 1910) harmonized HERMON in 1968; his arrangement was first published in the Canadian Anglican-United Hymn Book (1971). MacNutt was a student of Healey Willan at the Toronto Conservatory of Music from 1929 to 1932. He was organist and choirmaster at Trinity Church in Barrie, Ontario, Canada (1931-1935), and the Church of the Holy Trinity in Toronto (1935-1941). After serving in the Canadian Armed Forces during World War II, he was church musician in Winnipeg, Windsor, and at the Thomas Anglican Church in Toronto (1954-1977); he continued there as organist emeritus until 1987. MacNutt composed descants, choral anthems, and hymn tunes; Five Hymn Tunes was published in 1965.
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook