William Shrubsole (1760 - 1806) served as a bank clerk and held a government position in the Committee of the Treasury. But he also wrote a number of hymns and is probably best known for his Miles Lane. Vaughan Williams, having a thirst for arranging and dabbling in both folk and church music, used the Miles Lane tune for his setting of "All Hail the Power." He scored it for congregation, mixed chorus, and organ or orchestra; most performances, of course, use the organ. The Shrubsole melody is one of those glorious creations that actually sound more regal than religious, though in the English Church the two expressive manners were often inseparable.
After a lengthy introduction on organ, the chorus enters with the words, "All hail the power of Jesus' Name! Let angels prostrate fall." The words are by Edward Perronet (1726 - 1792), the son of an Anglican priest. As usual, Vaughan Williams deftly harmonizes the music, eschewing attempts at modernizing the hymn to give it a twentieth-century character. In the end, he allows the work to sound as much like Shrubsole as Vaughan Williams. To those with an interest in hymns and church music -- especially from the Anglican Church -- this arrangement will have strong appeal.