WINCHESTER OLD

Composer (attributed to): George Kirbye

George Kirbye (c. 1565 – buried October 6, 1634) was an English composer of the late Tudor period and early Jacobean era. He was one of the members of the English Madrigal School, but also composed sacred music. Little is known of the details of his life, though some of his contacts can be inferred. He worked at Rushbrooke Hall near Bury St Edmunds, evidently as a tutor to the daughters of Sir Robert Jermyn. In 1598 he married Anne Saxye, afterwards moving to Bury St Edmunds. Around this time he probably made the acquaintance of John Wilbye, a much more famous madrigalist, who lived and worked only a few miles away, and whose style he sometimes approaches. In 1626 his wife died, and he is known to have been a churchwarden during the ne… Go to person page >

Tune Information

Composer (attributed to): George Kirbye (1592)
Meter: 8.6.8.6
Incipit: 13321 44323 55453
Key: F Major
Source: The Whole Book of Psalmes, T. Este, 1592

Texts

While shepherds watched their flocks

While shepherds watched their flocks by night,
all seated on the ground,
an angel of the Lord came down,
and glory shone around.

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Notes

WINCHESTER OLD is a famous common-meter psalm tune, presumably arranged by George Kirbye (b. Suffolk, England, c. 1560; d. Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, England, 1634) from a melody in Christopher Tye's Acts of the Apostles and published in T. Este's The Whole Book of Psalmes (1592) set to Psalm 84. Kirbye was responsible for most of the harmonizations in that psalter. A musician at the estate of Sir Robert Jermyn near Bury St. Edmunds, Kirbye apparently also served as church warden of the local St. Mary's Church and composed several volumes of madrigals that were very popular in his time. WINCHESTER OLD has been associated with Nahum Tate's Christmas text ever since it was published in Hymns Ancient and Modern (1861). The tune title refers to Winchester, an ancient town in Hampshire, England. The song could be sung as a miniature oratorio, with the choir doing the narration (st. 1, 2a, 5), a soloist singing the angel's words (st. 2-4), and on the final stanza (st. 6) the entire congregation becoming the "throng of angels" and the choir singing descant–with all the stops pulled out! --Psalter Hymnal handbook. 1988

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Instances

Instances (1 - 70 of 70)
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Hymnal 1982: according to the use of the Episcopal Church #94

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Hymns and Psalms: a Methodist and ecumenical hymn book #120a

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Hymns for Today's Church (2nd ed.) #94a

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찬송과 예배 = Chansong gwa yebae = Come, Let Us Worship: the Korean-English Presbyterian hymnal and service book #218

Include 101 pre-1979 instances
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