|Composer:||William Henry Monk (1850)|
|Incipit:||13554 66534 55665|
Hark! a thrilling voice is sounding;
"Christ is nigh," it seems to say;
"Cast away the works of darkness
O ye children of the day!"
William H. Monk (b. Brompton, London, England, 1823; d. London, 1889) composed MERTON and published it in The Parish Choir (1850). The tune has been associated with this text since the 1861 edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern. The tune's title is thought to refer to Walter de Merton, founder of Merton College, Oxford, England.
Monk is best known for his music editing of Hymns Ancient and Modern (1861, 1868,; 1875, and 1889 editions). He also adapted music from plainsong and added accompaniments for Introits for Use Throughout the Year, a book issued with that famous hymnal. Beginning in his teenage years, Monk held a number of musical positions. He became choirmaster at King's College in London in 1847 and was organist and choirmaster at St. Matthias, Stoke Newington, from 1852 to 1889, where he was influenced by the Oxford Movement. At St. Matthias, Monk also began daily choral services with the choir leading the congregation in music chosen according to the church year, including psalms chanted to plainsong. He composed over fifty hymn tunes and edited The Scottish Hymnal (1872 edition) and Wordsworth's Hymns for the Holy Year (1862) as well as the periodical Parish Choir (1840-1851).
MERTON consists of two long lines. It has an attractive rising figure at the opening, and it features consistent quarter-note rhythms. Sing the inner stanzas in a subdued manner, rising on stanza 4 to prepare for the climactic doxology in stanza 5. The hymn is suitable for part singing, but sing stanza 5 in unison with a choir singing the descant; add trumpets if possible.
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook