What's wrong with "Holy God, We Praise Thy Name" ?

Well it does to the people who post here... dispassionate and reasoned debate, with a good deal of humour thrown in for good measure.

Moderators: Dom Perignon, Casimir

Post Reply
Posts: 80
Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 5:08 pm
Parish / Diocese: St. Patrick Parish
Location: United States

What's wrong with "Holy God, We Praise Thy Name" ?

Post by AntoineDaniel » Tue Feb 05, 2013 10:43 pm

As far as I am concerned, nothing is wrong with "Holy God, We Praise Thy Name." I love it.

But certain others disagree, and readers might be interested in this article:


It also contains three (3) "grotesque" hymn tune & text pairings from history.
St. Antoine Daniel, pray for us!

Southern Comfort
Posts: 1826
Joined: Sat Feb 23, 2008 12:31 pm

Re: What's wrong with "Holy God, We Praise Thy Name" ?

Post by Southern Comfort » Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:08 am

I must confess that I can't see the average congregation today singing those Southwell texts with anything approaching fervour, let alone fulfilment. They come from an age which is no longer ours. While they may be appreciated as poetry and even devotion, I am not sure that they are helpful as texts for use in liturgy.

As far as "Holy God, we praise thy name" is concerned, Jeff, I think you would find a substantial number of American church musicians who would not agree with you. The hymn has been done to death, literally, all over the United States. It is the default hymn that is programmed on every conceivable occasion, often at a rather slow tempo, with the end result that musicians are bored to tears by it and, I suspect, many congregations too. Another problem is that several different versions of the melody (including the "British" version) are sung in the US, and thus confusion is often caused when people come together who know the tune differently from their neighbours. And yes, some would say that both text and tune are mediocre. The free paraphrase of the Te Deum is not to everyone's taste, and I know some people who positively hate the tune.

In the UK, we do not have either of the above problems (over-use and conflicting versions), and the hymn is not the default congregational hymn here which it is in the States.

Posts: 1109
Joined: Fri May 27, 2005 8:04 pm
Location: Wirral

Re: What's wrong with "Holy God, We Praise Thy Name" ?

Post by alan29 » Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:41 am

Further to SC ..... it must be 40 years since I last sang "Holy God." It contains the eternal 3/4 problem ...... what kind of a waltz is it meant to be?

Posts: 555
Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2006 7:08 am
Parish / Diocese: Clifton
Location: Muddiest Somerset

Re: What's wrong with "Holy God, We Praise Thy Name" ?

Post by nazard » Wed Feb 06, 2013 11:13 am

A fast skipping one. Try it at at least 120 beats to the minute, and use Rowsthorne's last verse ( Being an anglican he calls it Hursley, and slightly changes the rhythm, but you can easily change it back.) By the third or fourth time you use it it will bring the roof down - pitting your congregation against your organo pleno.

I disagree with using it as a recessional. Use it to kick off the novus ordo. Frisch begonnen ist halb gewonnen, as the people who named it Großer Gott say.

Posts: 821
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2007 8:46 am
Location: Kent

Re: What's wrong with "Holy God, We Praise Thy Name" ?

Post by JW » Wed Feb 06, 2013 6:18 pm

We haven't used it in ages and I'm basically in agreement with SC. It is one of my secret pleasures, having grown up with it: it was one of the first hymns I ever learned to play on the harmonium. I don't see that there's much wrong with the words - archaic and overly-poetic paraphrase of the Te Deum perhaps but nothing worse than that. I see that it was sung as an entrance hymn for a Papal Mass in Berlin in 2011 so its not just the US of A who are still addicted to it.

Post Reply