Hymns on the Great Festivals and Other Occasions

The book contains 23 hymns by Charles Wesley and one by his brother Samuel, with musical settings by J.F. Lampe Lampe, John Frederick, the first original tunes written for Methodist hymns. As the title indicates, most of the texts are focused upon the major seasons of the Christian year, but the collection also includes three hymns on death, characteristic of the early Methodists' claim to 'die well'. The twenty-four texts are in nineteen different metres. Lampe’s tunes are characterised by florid, heavily ornamented melodies with wide ranges, showing clear evidence of his background as an operatic composer and performer. They are scored for solo voice with continuo accompaniment. Most of the tunes were subsequently reprinted in Sacred Melody (1761) and Sacred Harmony (1780), demonstrating John Wesley’s approval, but they quickly fell out of use in the nineteenth century.

  • Introduction to facsimile reprint (1996)
  • Martin V. Clarke, ‘John Frederick Lampe’s Hymns on the Great Festivals and Other Occasions’ in Music and the Wesleys, ed. Stephen Banfield and Nicholas Temperley (Urbana, 2010), 52-62.
  • Martin V. Clarke, ‘Charles Wesley, Methodism and new art music in the long eighteenth century’, Eighteenth-Century Music 18/2, 271-293.

Entry written by: JAV and MVC
Category: Publication
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