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Article "I Love Thee, Lord" by William W. Gilchrist

Image: Evening prayer, 1906. W. H. Partridge, Boston, photographer
Evening prayer, 1906. W. H. Partridge, Boston, photographer. Photograph. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. Reproduction number: LC-USZ62-88923

Gilchrist was co-editor of a series titled The International Choir, in which the editors published a new anthem each week. They write in editorial notes, "Few preachers would have the audacity to repeat a sermon to the same audience within a few months. . . . But many choirs repeat their anthems without serious criticism." With the weekly publications, they aimed to help choirs avoid that repetition.

Gilchrist's anthem I Love Thee, Lord appeared as no. 40 in volume 1 of the series, dated August 8, 1900. The editors noted: "It is strong and fresh, out of the beaten track in form and style." The text is by the French mystic, Jeanne Guyon (1648-1717). The accompaniment is written for piano, a departure from common practice. The piano introduction presents a short figure that is taken over by the soprano solo and used as a unifying device throughout the piece. Gilchrist is sensitive to the rhythm of the English text, and the figure fits the text well.

The choral writing features a dialogue between the upper three voices and the bass. Gilchrist was fond of using contrapuntal devices to enliven his choral writing. At the end of the second verse, "Our source, our centre, and our dwelling place," triplets suddenly emerge in the accompaniment. The voices remain in common time, however, creating a rhythmic tension as the sopranos climb to a high A.

About this Item


  • "I Love Thee, Lord" by William W. Gilchrist


  • -  Gilchrist, William Wallace -- 1846-1916 -- -- composer
  • -  Choral music
  • -  Worship and Praise
  • -  Songs and Music
  • -  Parlor and Concert Stage
  • -  Progressive Era to New Era (1900-1929)
  • -  Articles


  • article

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