All my hope on God is founded

# 665                    All my hope on God is founded

Words:                 Robert Seymour Bridges, after Joachim Neander

Tune:                    Michael

Composer:          Herbert Howells

From The 1982 Hymnal Companion

This hymn was one of those for which the Hymnal Selection Committee preparing Hymnal 1982 received a significant number of requests for inclusion.  Undoubtably, this is due to the popularity of the tune, which is one of Herbert Howell’s most engaging. Through the matching of MICHAEL with the Bridges text, a work of singular beauty and strength, the worshiper is enabled to articulate faith in a very compelling way.

Bridges took the original Neander verse  and “does not really translate the German originals, but uses them merely for suggestion, not only paraphrasing freely, and omitting many verses, but also adding verses of his own. Thus, although the individualistic note of the post-Luther German pietism is here retained in the opening stanzas, the hymn is on the whole on a wider more modern note, and in line with Bridge’s final mature work. 

Dr. Herbert Howells wrote MICHAEL ca. 1930 for use with these words.  Dr. Howells recalls that upon receiving the commission to write the tune, he wrote the entire tune while still at the breakfast table where he had been opening the mail.  The tune is noteworthy for its profound lyric beauty and harmonic richness. It honors the composer’s son, Michael, who died in childhood. 

Enjoy this splendid video from Westminster Abbey – choir, congregation and thunderous organ YOUTUBE