Sunday, June 19, 2005

Prelude on "Malabar"

At the episcopal service I attended this morning, I was surprised to see the word "Malabar" appear in the bulletin. Both as the name of the tune to which we sang a hymn, and in the title of the organ prelude (Prelude on "Malabar" by Leo Sowerby). A little googling lead me to this page which includes this statement :
Words: Syriac Liturgy of Malabar; tr. Charles William Humphreys (1840-1921); alt. Percy Dearmer (1867-1936) Music: Malabar, David McKinley Williams (1887-1978)
So it appears that Charles Humphreys lifted the words of the hymn from the "Syriac Liturgy of Malabar", and David Williams set it to a tune that he called Malabar, and later Leo Sowerby wrote a variation on that tune that he called Prelude on "Malabar". I was hoping for something more intriguing, but I guess it is evidence that the cross-cultural pollination was not just in one direction.


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