This past Sunday, we programmed “Take Up Your Cross,” a 19th century text by Charles W. Everest set in Gather Comprehensive to the tune O WALY WALY.
I was careful to listen for the people singing in the pews, and they did. But I’m not sold on this tune being played in 3/4 time. Maybe it was my parish musicians here–they took the tune at a good clip. Most likely, I like whatever text that is used with this melody to have some breathing room, and that means 4/4.
Anybody use this text and/or tune? What about the Brian Wren hymn, “When Love Is Found”?
Personally, O Waly Waly (aka The Water is Wide) has such strong folk ballad connotations that I find it hard to square with the sacred texts with which it has been recently yoked. I would feel the same way about O Shenandoah (one of the most beautiful American folk songs). Just because one can does not mean one should…. Next thing you know, someone will try to marry a sacred text to Katy Cruel (a great folk song, of course).
I have to admit, that while “O Waly Waly” is a great lyrical folk tune and can be used effectively with many texts, for this particular text I much prefer the strong, ‘square” traditional German tune “Erhalt uns, Herr” (Spires) L.M., which is also sometimes used for “The Glory of These 40 Days.” There is something firm and uncompromizing about that tune, which fits with the uncompromising sentiment of the words.
I used to sing this a lot back in my Anglican days. Therefore, it must be in the English Hymnal. The tune was in 4/4.
We used it in our parish this past Sunday.