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What Wondrous Love is This?

Although not specifically associated with Easter, “What Wondrous Love is This?” is frequently a part of Easter services.  The claim that the dorian tune derives from the early 18th century English ballad “My Name is Captain Kidd” seems to me to be quite doubtful, it’s very much unlike the English melody.  Whatever its source, it’s a haunting melody. The words were first published in 1811 but our first printed pairing of the words and tune appeared in William Walker’s “Southern Harmony”, published in several editions between 1835 and 1843.

The link is to a singing of the hymn by a “convention” of Sacred Harp singers.  This is how the hymn is to be sung:  robust, raw boned, with the unapologetic saw-tooth edge of real preacher.  My only wish is that they’d sing all six verses (which you can find at the Wikipedia article on the hymn).

 

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