A couple of weeks ago, some friends and I were able to get into this beautiful, regal church building downtown for a photoshoot! In a church as beautiful as this one, it's hard not to be worshipful and reverent, and we really appreciated the opportunity to get in. :)
Henry F. Lyte (the composer of the words for Abide with Me ~ here arranged with Liszt's Etude un Sospiro by Myra Schubert) lived in similarly beautiful surroundings - an elegant estate, reportedly provided by King William IV who had been impressed with Henry's ministry. Henry was a vicar in the fishing villiage of Lower Brixham, Devonshire, England, where he ministered to sea-faring people for 23 years. As tranquil as the coastal views were among the British Isles, Lower Brixham had damp winters, and Henry suffered from a a lung disorder that deteriorated into tuberculosis. On September 4, 1847, age 54, he preached his last sermon. That afternoon he walked along the coast in pensive prayer, went to his room and, an hour later, brought out a written copy of "Abide With Me".
It is likely that he had prayerfully revised and completed that afternoon, what was started many years before. On November 20, 1847, the day after his revision, he left for Italy to regain his health. He didn't make it though; his phthisic lungs finally gave out and he died in Nice, France, three weeks after writing these words. When the news of his death reached Brixham, the fishermen of the village asked Henry's son-in-law, also a minister, to hold a memorial service. It was on this occasion that "Abide With Me" was first sung.
For over a century, the bells of Henry Lyte's church in Devonshire, have rung out “Abide with Me” daily. The hymn was sung at the weddings of King George VI and of his daughter, the future Queen Elizabeth II, as well as at the funeral of Nobel peace prize winner Mother Teresa of Calcutta in1997.
In defense of my poor playing, this was a piece I hadn't yet polished (obviously) and I wasn't really giving it my full attention, especially since I didn't know Hannah was recording! But I'm glad she got this little video while Daniel did his thing, and I hope you'll enjoy it. :)
Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.
I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.
Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;