|Title:||O PERFECT LOVE (Barnby)|
|Composer:||Joseph Barnby (1889)|
|Incipit:||13555 55177 62345|
O perfect Love, all human thought transcending,
lowly we kneel in prayer before thy throne,
that theirs may be the love which knows no ending,
whom thou in sacred vow dost join in one.
Joseph Barnby (PHH 438) composed O PERFECT LOVE and said it was a "hymn tune in the natural style and idiom … of our own time." Originally an anthem, O PERFECT LOVE was shortened into a hymn tune for publication in The Hymnal Companion (1890) and in the Church Hymnary (1898). The tune is also known as FIFE and SANDRINGHAM.
Erik Routley (PHH 31) calls Barnby's hymn tunes "shamelessly sentimental." O PERFECT LOVE is surely an example of what he means (Barnby's tunes at 438 and 447 are not). Sometimes thought to be the most notorious product of the Victorian composers, this tune is often performed with too much rubato and in a sentimental manner too often associated with weddings. Sing it in unison at a cheerful pace.
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook, 1988