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Background on the "Italian Hymn"
"Come, Thou Almighty King" was one of the most popular hymns sung to honor the
Holy Trinity. An anonymous writer (possibly Charles Wesley) wrote the words to
Felice Di Giardini's music and it was named the "Italian Hymn" in the
mid-eighteenth century. A really high majority of Christian churches usually
sing this in either the key of F or G major and the whole congregation sings it
When I first heard the hymn, I decided to arrange it for two-part treble choir
and I want it in A major instead of the usual F or G major versions sung in
churches. To make this more interesting, I composed a flute solo along with the
piano accompaniment and this version is suitable enough for small churches. For
larger ones, like cathedrals, I added the optional instrumentation of strings,
oboe, oboe d' amore, English horn, and French horn. Middle and high school girls
who participated in church choirs would have an equal chance of singing this
alongside women members and I hope that a publisher of Christian music would
create copies of it.
In the original version of "Come, Thou Almighty King," it's always the same
melody in each and every verse but in my version, I varied the harmonies and
melodies of the choir. In verse one, the soprano sings the melody and the altos
sings its parallel and in verse two the sopranos' part stays the same. There's
something different in the latter, however, as the altos sing the counterpoint.
Verse three is the longest part of the arrangement and the counterpoint of both
parts blend well in the key of G flat minor. All instrumental parts play the
same key in this verse, though. In the last verse, the altos sing most of the
main melody before merging into their harmony while the sopranos sing the
descant before singing the last few bars of the main melody. In verses one, two,
and four, the instrumental parts play the same parts and a graceful slowdown in
the end concludes this piece spiritually.
Recently, I revised the piano accompaniment and I'll work on revising the alto
part. I want this piece commissioned by one of the large churches I've been to
the past. I'll be playing the revised piano accompaniment to accompany the choir
alongside the musicians (pros and/or amateurs) in the future because I recently
started on piano lessons. "Come, Thou Almighty King" was not only one of my
favorite hymns, but it's my first musical arrangement since eighth grade.
Composed by a lesser-known operatic composer, it was regarded as one of the most
popular hymns sung during the day of the Holy Trinity.
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