Thaxted (tune)

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The Manse in Thaxted, where Gustav Holst lived from 1917 to 1925.

"Thaxted" is a hymn tune by the English composer Gustav Holst, based on the stately theme from the middle section of the Jupiter movement of his orchestral suite The Planets and named after Thaxted, the English village where he resided much of his life. He adapted the theme in 1921 to fit the patriotic poem "I Vow to Thee, My Country" by Cecil Spring Rice but that was as a unison song with orchestra.[1] It did not appear as a hymn-tune called "Thaxted" until his friend Ralph Vaughan Williams included it in Songs of Praise in 1926.[2] This setting was sung at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997.

Hymns written to the tune[edit]

  • "O Spirit All-Embracing" - Delores Dufner, OSB, 2001[7]
  • "As the Bread of Life Is Broken" - James Chepponis, 2002[8]
  • "Let David Be Remembered" - Martin E. Leckebusch, 2003[9]
  • "We Praise You and Acknowledge You, O God" - a paraphrase of the Te Deum Laudamus by Stephen P. Starke in the 2006 Lutheran Service Book[10]
  • "Let Streams of Living Justice" - William Whitla, in Canadian Anglican hymnal Common Praise, 1989[11]
  • "Three Days" - M.D. Ridge, 2003[12]
  • "From Penola's Plains" - Australian hymn in honour of Mary MacKillop - Michael Herry and Geoffrey Cox, 2010[13]
  • "O God, Show Mercy to Us" - a setting of Psalm 67 in the Reformed Presbyterian Church's Book of Psalms for Worship.
  • "The Iron Rod" - a setting by Bob Galbraith of a popular hymn of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, based on 1 Nephi chapter 11 of the Book of Mormon. It was first performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir during the 175th Semiannual General Conference in 2005.[14]
  • "The Answer" - song with lyrics by Corrinne May, which appears on her fourth album, The Gift.
  • "For the Splendor of Creation" - arranged by Jameson Marvin for the Harvard University Commencement Choir[15]
  • "May you our Center Be" - School Hymn/Anthem of St Patrick's College, Sutherland
  • "Jerusalem the Golden" - Hymn for Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS)[16]
  • "Sign of Faith" - St Joseph's Nudgee College school song

Other uses[edit]

Secular songs written to the tune include:

A literary reference appears in "The Adventure of the Lost World",[18] a Sherlock Holmes pastiche written by Dominic Green, where the tune is a major plot element, though the story contains a chronological error in that its Autumn 1918 setting would pre-date the publishing of the tune under the name "Thaxted".

Commercial uses include:

  • Sarah Brightman has recorded a song "Running" in 2007. It was the theme song for the IAAF Championships; she performed it at the opening ceremony in Osaka.
  • Maddy Prior includes the tune in two pieces of her 2003 album Lionhearts.[19]
  • 94 WIP, a radio station in Philadelphia, began using the tune as part of a Philadelphia Phillies radio commercial in 2014.


  1. ^ Holst, Imogen, A Thematic Catalogue of Gustav Holst's Music. Faber 1974, page 145
  2. ^ Vaughan Williams & Shaw, Songs of Praise, 1926, Oxford University Press
  3. ^ "O Merciful Redeemer". Retrieved 2014-06-26. 
  4. ^ "We Pledge To One Another". Retrieved 2015-11-19. 
  5. ^ "O God Beyond All Praising". Retrieved 2008-07-01. 
  6. ^ "Funeral Mass For Justice Antonin Scalia A Majestic Ceremony". 
  7. ^ "O Spirit All-Embracing". GIA Publications. Retrieved 2009-05-28. 
  8. ^ "As the Bread of Life Is Broken". Retrieved 2015-08-12. 
  9. ^ "Let David Be Remembered (Psalm 132)". 
  10. ^ "We Praise You and Acknowledge You, O God". Starke, Stephen P. Retrieved 2011-03-30. 
  11. ^ "Resources for Study, Reflection and Prayer". Anglican Church of Canada. Retrieved 2009-04-02. 
  12. ^ "Three Days". OCP. Retrieved 2009-02-16. 
  13. ^ "From Penola's Plains". Marist Melbourne. Retrieved 2010-05-23. 
  14. ^ "Conference Summary for the 175th Semiannual General Conference". 
  15. ^ "Shawnee Press, For the Splendor of Creation" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-05-27. 
  16. ^ "Article in Forward In Christ". Retrieved 2014-05-20. 
  17. ^ "Lawrence University: College Songs of Past and Present". Retrieved 2008-07-01. 
  18. ^ originally published 2004 online in BBCi Cult Sherlock Holmes Magazine, and reprinted in The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, ed. John Joseph Adams. San Francisco: Night Shade Books (ISBN 978-1597801607), 2009.
  19. ^ "Lionhearts track listing at". Retrieved 2015-11-19. 

External links[edit]