|Composer:||William Croft (1708)|
|Incipit:||53651 17151 5645|
|Source:||A Supplement to the New Version 1708|
Though no firm documentation exists, ST. ANNE was probably composed by William Croft (PHH 149), possibly when he was organist from 1700-1711 at St. Anne's Church in Soho, London, England. (According to tradition, St. Anne was the mother of the Virgin Mary.) The tune was first published in A Supplement to the New Version (6th ed., 1708) as a setting for Psalm 42. ST. ANNE became a setting for "O God, Our Help in Ages Past" in Hymns Ancient and Modern (1861), and the two have been inseparable ever since.
ST. ANNE shares its first melodic motif with a number of other tunes from the early eighteenth century; one example is Bach's great fugue in E-flat, nicknamed "St. Anne," though it uses only the first motif of ST. ANNE. The original "gathering notes" (where the first note of each phrase is doubled in length) have been changed to equal the tune's prevailing quarter-note rhythms. ST. ANNE is a strong tune that must not be sung too rapidly. On the final stanza, sing in a stately manner and try unison singing on the alternative accompaniment by David Johnson (PHH 433), which was first published in Free Organ Accompaniments to Festival Hymns, Vol. 1 (1963).
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook