Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Horatio R. Palmer

On the birthday of Baptist composer Horatio Richmond Palmer (1834-1907) we remember a man dedicated to spreading sacred song as far as possible.

Palmer's various musical occupations were described here six years ago (music teacher, choir leader and organizer, writer of gospel song tunes and texts, editor of fifty hymn and song collections, author of several books on music and other subjects) but he was even busier than that.  From 1877-1891 he led the Summer School of Music at the Chautauqua Institution, a program that has continued to expand to the present day. While there he must have met hymnwriters Mary Lathbury and William Fisk SherwinFor eleven years he also directed the choir at the Broome Street Tabernacle in New York City.

Today's tune by Palmer (with text by Fanny Crosby) appeared first in Our Treasury of Song (1883) compiled by Hubert P. Main and published by Biglow & Main, probably the largest producer of Sunday School music and gospel songs in its day.  You can imagine this as a popular marching song for children, but adults probably liked it too.

Sing praise to God,
Joyfully sound hosanna,
Praising God with glad acclaim.
Lift up your hearts
Unto the throne with gladness,
Magnify God's holy name.
Marching along
Under that banner bright,
Trust in promised mercy as we go,
God's light divine
Tenderly o’er us will shine,
Guided by God's protecting hand
Now and forever.

Steadily marching on,
With our banners waving o’er us;
Steadily marching on,
While we sing the joyful chorus;
Steadily marching on,
Pillar and cloud going before us,
To the realms of glory
To our home on high.

Sing praise to God,
Ruler on high eternal,
Glory be to God on high.
Sing praise to God,
Tell of that loving kindness,
Join the chorus of the sky.
Still marching on,
Cheerily marching on,
In the ranks of heaven we will go,
Home to our rest,
Joyfully home where the blest
Gather and sing our Maker’s name,
Praising forever.

Fanny Crosby, 1883; alt.
Tune: STEADILY MARCHING ON (Irregular with refrain)
Horatio R. Palmer, 1883

The picture below is a musical autograph of Palmer's which quotes one of his most famous songs, Yield not to temptation (1868).

Six Years Ago: Horatio R. Palmer

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