The nation of Wales, part of the United Kingdom, is famous for its love of music. Its music culture has greatly influenced our music as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
My wife and I recently visited Wales and heard an excellent Welsh men’s choir perform at a Methodist church. At the end of the concert the entire assembly rose and sang “Guide Me, Oh Thou Great Redeemer”, the hymn on which our hymn “Guide Us, Oh Thou Great Jehovah” is based. The reasons for the differences between the hymns are interesting, but I’ll deal with those in a a different post. As the pastor announced the hymn, he said with great pride that we would sing according to Welsh customs: in harmony and with a music leader. The Latter-day Saints who read this post will instantly recognize that this is how we sing our hymns. The singing of the hymn reminded me in many ways of the intermediate hymn at stake conference. It was wonderful.
One of the greatest Welsh hymn tunes is named after the beautiful town of Aberystwyth. It was written by the great Welsh-American composer Joseph Parry, who rose from poverty and as a manual laborer in the coal mines to emigrate to the United States, where his great musical talent was recognized. That recognition eventually enabled him to study music at Cambridge, where he received both his bachelor’s and doctor’s degrees. He eventually became professor of music in Aberystwyth, where this beautiful hymn tune was first composed and performed.
This tune is usually sung to a poem by Charles Wesley called “Jesus, Lover of My Soul.” This hymn is in our Latter-day Saint hymnal with a different setting. Regardless of the setting, this poem teaches great, eternal truths.
My setting of Aberystwyth is intended as a grand postlude. I hope you enjoy it and can use it in your service to the Lord.
Postlude on Aberystwyth — PDF
Download the audio here (Right-click to download).