ARDEN is a noble, singable, somewhat dramatic tune set to a fine accompaniment suited to harmony singing. Try having a soloist sing the words attributed to God in stanza 1.
George T. Thalben-Ball (b. Sidney, Australia, 1896; d. London, England, 1987) composed ARDEN for the BBG Hymn Book of 1951, on which he worked as an editor. In that volume ARDEN was a setting for Charles Wesley's "Oh, for a Thousand Tongues to Sing" (501). The tune is named for the district in Warwickshire, England, where the committee who compiled the BBG Hymn Book often met.
Thalben-Ball moved with his family from Australia to England when he was a child. His promise as an organist was evident early on: after studying at the Royal College of Music in London in 1910, he became organist at several London churches. At the age of sixteen he became a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists. In 1923 he became the permanent organist of the Temple Church in London, a position he retained for many years. This church was largely destroyed during World War II, but it was restored in 1954 with an organ built under Thalben-Ball's supervision. An internationally known recitalist and an organist for the BBC, he helped shape the daily religious broadcasts of the BBC and contributed to the The BBG Hymn Book. He also became city and university organist in Birmingham, served as an examiner for the Royal School of Church Music, taught organ at the Royal College of Music, and was famous for his choral recordings at the Temple Church. Thalben-Ball was knighted in 1982.