436 - I Bind Unto Myself Today
Tune: St. Patrick's Breastplate
Okay, friends, this is one fantastic hymn! And a LONG one!! The above clip includes verses 1, 4, 5 and 6. The musical challenge in this hymn is verse 5, which is very different from all the other verses. It's a different melody, a different time signature, and a different feeling -- a little quieter and more devotional than the flashing lightning and the old eternal rocks of the first melody.
The problem is moving from the first melody into the second. They are so different that if you try to simply dive cold-turkey into verse 5, the result can be quite unpredictable (not to mention unmusical). I suggest that the way to solve this is to have a short instrumental "bridge" between 4 and 5, and again from 5 into 6, something to establish the new key, tempo and dynamic. I've done just that on this audio clip, and you can click below to download the music so you can try it yourself.
The important thing is that the accompanist must know the piece inside out, so that the changes between 4-5 and 5-6 happen seamlessly. You've just got to be absolutely sure of where you're going when you play this piece. But once you solve the problem of verse 5, people LOVE to sing this one, on St Patrick's Day and on Trinity Sunday, and any other Sunday of the year that inspires "the whirling wind's tempestuous shocks"!
Here's a longer version of this hymn:
And if you prefer to sing along ...