Composer: T. Tertius Noble

Thomas Tertius Nobel (1867-1953) was born in Bath, England, educated at the Royal College of Music, and was a noted composer and organist. He served as a church or­gan­ist in Cam­bridge and Col­ches­ter. He moved to Ely Ca­thed­ral in 1892 as or­gan­ist and choir­mas­ter, and in 1898 to York Min­ster, where he found­ed the York Sym­pho­ny Or­ches­tra, di­rect­ed the York Mu­sic­al So­ci­e­ty, con­duct­ed the York Pa­geant, and re­vived the York Mu­sic­al Fes­tiv­al af­ter a lapse of 75 years. He be­came an hon­or­a­ry fel­low of the Roy­al Coll­ege of Or­gan­ists in 1905. In 1913, he moved to New York Ci­ty, where he was or­gan­ist at St. Tho­mas’ Epis­co­pal Church, and es­tab­lished its… Go to person page >

Tune Information

Title: ORA LABORA (Noble)
Composer: T. Tertius Noble (1918)
Incipit: 56551 76536 65453
Key: A♭ Major
Copyright: Public Domain in US


T. (Thomas) Tertius Noble (b. Bath, England, 1867; d. Rockport, MA, 1953) composed ORA LABORA for Borthwick's text when it was accepted in 1916 for inclusion in the Episcopal hymnal, on whose commission Noble served. ORA LABORA, which means "pray and work," was also published in The New Hymnal of 1918.

Sing this distinguished cathedral-style tune in unison. Use strong, majestic organ accompaniment and a moderate tempo. (The phrase "No time for rest" in st. 5 merits a thoughtful pause in our workaholic society!)

As a youth Noble attended a boarding school but found the curriculum so ill-suited to his abilities (the school offered no music) that he was allowed to come home. A pastor took the thirteen-year-old boy under his wing, supervised his education, and secured him a position at All Saints Church of Colchester. After attending the Royal College of Music in London, England, Noble became organist and choirmaster at Ely Cathedral (1892-1898) and York Minster (1898-1912). In 1913 he was invited to become the organist and to establish a cathedral music program at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in New York City. The church had been recently renovated, and a new organ was built under Noble's direction. He also established a famous choir school for boys there in 1919. Noble served that church until his retirement in 1942. He composed orchestral pieces, choral works, anthems, service music for the Anglican liturgy, and hymn tunes. A member of the Episcopal Church's Joint Commission on Church Music (1916-1943), he published two collections (1946, 1949) of free harmonizations of hymn tunes used in the Hymnal 1940.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook, 1988


Harmonizations, Introductions, Descants, Intonations

  • Vocal Descants for 101 Noteworthy Hymns
    Composer/Editor Lorna Barker
    Published By: Church Publishing (2010) pp. 22
  • The Creative Use of the Organ in Worship
    Composer/Editor Hal H. Hopson
    Published By: Hope Publishing Company (2000) pp. 109
  • Free Harmonizations of Hymn Tunes: Volume II
    Composer/Editor D. DeWitt Wasson
    Published By: Hinshaw Music, Inc. (1986) pp. 167
  • Free Organ Accompaniments to One Hundred Well-known Hymn Tunes
    Composer/Editor T. Tertius Noble
    Published By: J. Fischer & Brothers (1946) pp. 91

Organ Solo

  • The Sacred Organ Journal Volume 49 Number 1 September October 2014: The Organist's Companion for the Church Year
    Composer/Editors Douglas E. Wagner; Lani Smith
    Published By: Lorenz Publishing Company (2014) pp. 17
  • At the Name of Jesus: Four Hymns of Devotion
    Composer/Editor Michael A. Burkhardt
    Published By: MorningStar Music Publishers, Inc. (2012) pp. 16
  • The Ultimate Organ Book: For Weddings, Funerals & the Church Year
    Composer/Editor Hal H. Hopson
    Published By: Hope Publishing Company (2007) pp. 16
  • Fantasy, Chorale and Fugue on "Ora Labora": Hymn tune of T. Tertius Noble
    Composer/Editor Peter Pindar Stearns
    Published By: The H. W. Gray Company (1991) pp. 2
  • The Sacred Organ Journal Volume 17 Number 5 May 1983: A Bi-monthly Anthology for Church Organists
    Composer/Editors Howard Wells; Rick Parks
    Published By: Lorenz Publishing Company (1983) pp. 38


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Christian Classics Ethereal Hymnary #927
  • Four-part harmony, full-score (PDF, NWC)
The Cyber Hymnal #1037
Text: Come, Labor On
  • Adobe Acrobat image (PDF)
  • Noteworthy Composer score (NWC)
  • XML score (XML)


Instances (1 - 14 of 14)

Christian Classics Ethereal Hymnary #927

Christian Worship #99A

Text InfoTextFlexscoreAudioPage Scan

Glory to God #719

Hymns of the Saints #384


New English Praise #632

Text InfoTune InfoTextAudio

Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #526

TextPage Scan

Rejoice in the Lord #75

Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal #357


Small Church Music #1440

The Christian Life Hymnal #354


The Cyber Hymnal #1037

TextPage Scan

The Hymnal 1982 #541

TextPage Scan

The New Century Hymnal #532


The Presbyterian Hymnal #415

Include 9 pre-1979 instances
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