364

Tell Out, My Soul

Scripture References

Further Reflections on Scripture References

One of the first hymn texts written by Timothy Dudley-Smith, this free paraphrase of the Song of Mary from Luke 1:46-55 is his best known. It was first published in the Anglican Hymn Book (1965). Dudley-Smith writes of this text:
 
"I did not think of myself . . . as having in any way the gifts of a hymn-writer when in May 1961 I jotted down a set of verses, beginning "Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord." I was reading a review copy of the New English Bible New Testament, in which that line appears exactly as I have put it above; I saw in it the first line of a poem, and speedily wrote the rest" (Dudley-Smith 1984).
 
The text calls us to proclaim the greatness "of the Lord" (st. 1), "of his name" (st. 2), "of his might" (st. 3), and "of his word" (st. 4). The text's strong language captures the spirit of Mary's exuberant song of praise to God. The powerful text contrasts with the humble meditative setting of the Song of Mary at 212. A third, partial setting of Mary's Song is found at 622–sung to a Taize round.
 
Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Mary could not keep the good news within! Neither should we. So, “men and women, impelled by the Spirit, go next door and far away into science and art, media and marketplace—every area of life, pointing to the reign of God with what they do and say” (Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 30).

Tune Information

Name
WOODLANDS
Key
D Major
Meter
10.10.10.10

Recordings

Hymn Story/Background

One of the first hymn texts written by Timothy Dudley-Smith, this free paraphrase of the Song of Mary from Luke 1:46-55 is his best known. It was first published in the Anglican Hymn Book (1965). Dudley-Smith writes of this text:
 
I did not think of myself . . . as having in any way the gifts of a hymn-writer when in May 1961, I jotted down a set of verses, beginning "Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord." I was reading a review copy of the New English Bible New Testament, in which that line appears exactly as I have put it above; I saw in it the first line of a poem, and speedily wrote the rest (Dudley-Smith 1984).
 
The text calls us to proclaim the greatness "of the Lord" (st. 1), "of his name" (st. 2), "of his might" (st. 3), and "of his Word" (st. 4). The text's strong language captures the spirit of Mary's exuberant song of praise to God.
 
WOODLANDS is a perfect match for the bold text. Walter Greatorex composed this tune in 1916, and it was published in the Public School Hymn Book in 1919. The tune's title refers to one of the schoolhouses at Gresham's School, Holt, Norfolk, where Greatorex was director of music from 1911-1936.
 
A dramatic tune, WOODLANDS is marked by irresistible melodic gestures and by the "breathless" cadence of line 2, which propels us forward into line 3. Sing in strong unison throughout with a full organ and brass for festive services. Try having the full choir sing up an octave for the final two measures of stanzas 3 and 4.
— Bert Polman

Author Information

Educated at Pembroke College and Ridley Hall, Cambridge, Timothy Dudley-Smith (b. 1926) has served the Church of England since his ordination in 1950. He has occupied a number of church posi­tions, including parish priest in the diocese of Southwark (1953-1962), archdeacon of Norwich (1973-1981), and bishop of Thetford, Norfolk, from 1981 until his retirement in 1992. He also edited a Christian magazine, Crusade, which was founded after Billy Graham's 1955 London crusade. Dudley-Smith began writing comic verse while a student at Cambridge; he did not begin to write hymns until the 1960s. Many of his several hundred hymn texts have been collected in Lift Every Heart: Collected Hymns 1961-1983 (1984), Songs of Deliverance: Thirty-six New Hymns (1988), and A Voice of Singing (1993). The writer of Christian Literature and the Church (1963), Someone Who Beckons (1978), and Praying with the English Hymn Writers (1989), Dudley-Smith has also served on various editorial committees, including the committee that published Psalm Praise (1973).
— Bert Polman

Composer Information

The tune's title refers to one of the schoolhouses at Gresham's School, Holt, Norfolk, where Walter Greatorex (b. Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, England, 1877; d. Bournemouth, Hampshire, England, 1949) was director of music from 1911-1936. Before that he served as assistant music master at Uppingham School in Rutland (1900-1910). Greatorex's musical education began as a chorister at King's College, Cambridge, England, and he received his university music training at St. John's College, Cambridge.
— Bert Polman

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