When in Our Music God Is Glorified

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Source: Glory to God: the Presbyterian Hymnal #641
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Author: Fred Pratt Green

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Scripture References:
st. 3 = 1 Chron. 16:42
st. 4 = Matt. 26:30, Mark 14:26
st. 5 = Ps. 150, Eph.5:19-20, Col.3:16

At the request of John W. Wilson (PHH 278), Fred Pratt Green (PHH 455) wrote this text in Norwich, England, in 1971. It was intended for use with Charles V. Stanford's ENGELBERG at a London conference of the Methodist Church Music Society. Originally entitled "When in Man's Music God Is Glorified," the text was first published in Pratt Green's 26 Hymns (1971). This hymn has been widely accepted in many recent hymnals and is sung in numerous choral festivals.

“When in Our Music” is the only hymn text in Christendom that explains the reasons for church music while simultaneously offering "alleluias" to God. The various stanzas deal with our humility in performance (st. 1), the aesthetics of musical worship (s1. 2), and the history of church music (st. 3). The final two stanzas present a biblical model (st. 4) and quote Psalm 150 (st. 5). (A fruitful study could be made of this text and the Christian Reformed Church "Statement of Principle on Church Music" and its implications and practice, Psalter Hymnal, pp. 11-15.)

Liturgical Use:
Regular worship services, but most often at special praise services, choral liturgies, worship conferences, and other "musical feasts"; appropriate for recognizing the work of church musicians.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook



Charles V. Stanford (b. Dublin, Ireland, 1852; d. Marylebone, London, England, 1924) composed ENGELBERG as a setting for William W. How's "For All the Saints" (505). The tune was published in the 1904 edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern with no less than six different musical settings. It is clearly…

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