|Incipit:||17651 21231 43232|
|Source:||Dutch Traditional Melody, 1710;Oude en Nieuwe Hollantse...Contradanseu, Amsterdam, c. 1710|
IN BABILONE is a traditional Dutch melody that appeared in Oude en Nieuwe Hollantse Boerenlities en Contradansen (Old and New Dutch Peasant Songs and Country Dances), c. 1710. Ralph Vaughan Williams (PHH 316) discovered this tune as arranged by Julius Rontgen (b. Leipzig, Germany, 1855; d. Utrecht, the Netherlands, 1932) and included it in The English Hymnal (1906), from which it gained widespread use. A rounded barform tune (AABA), IN BABILONE provides a fine setting for Psalm 117's cosmic scope. Because this song has only one stanza, use the tune as an alternate to other texts in 87 87 D so that congregations may sing it more often. Stretch the cadence a bit to catch a breath at the end of line 3 (ending in the word accord).
An important Dutch pianist, composer, conductor, scholar, and editor, Rontgen studied music in Leipzig with well-known German teachers. In 1877 he moved to Amsterdam, where he first taught at the Amsterdam Conservatory. In 1886 he became conductor of the Society for the Advancement of Musical Art. He returned to the Conservatory as director in 1918, and then retired in 1924 to devote himself to composition. He was a friend of leading composers of his day, including Liszt, Brahms, and Grieg, and wrote a biography of Grieg. Rontgen's compositions include symphonies, chamber works, operas, and film scores.
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook, 1988