Ralph Vaughan Williams

Behold the great Creator makes, hymn ("This Endris Nyght")

    Description by Robert Cummings

    While Vaughan Williams provided some of his own melodies for his work on the English Hymnal in the period 1904 - 1906, most of his work involved correcting, arranging, and harmonizing the various hymns. One of those he arranged was "Behold the Great Creator," listed as No. 20 in the English Hymnal. He set it to the melody from the fifteenth-century traditional English carol, Endris Nyght, and used a text from Thomas Pestel, dating to 1639. Later a new text from the 1865 Christian Hymn Book was used to fashion this hymn, "I Come, the Great Redeemer Cries." While the texts are different, their meter is virtually the same.

    The hymn begins with the words, "I come, the great Redeemer cries, To do thy will, O Lord!" The melody is famous, of course, and in his arrangement, Vaughan Williams makes it sound very much in his own style. While he updates this pre-Renaissance tune, he does not quite bring it into the twentieth century, providing meaty though fairly simple harmonies, in a rather conservative post-Romantic vein. To those with an interest in church and choral music, this arrangement, of the many that have used the Endris Nyght melody, will have great appeal.

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2016 Decca 4784448
    2010 Griffin 4072
    2003 Castle Pulse PBXCD 564X
    2003 Castle Pulse PBXCD564
    2003 Castle Music UK / Castle Pulse / Pulse Castle PBXCD 564
    2000 Gothic Records 49121