Thursday, July 16, 2009

Old 100th

'Old 100th' or 'Old Hundredth', also known as 'All People That on Earth Do Dwell,' is one of the most famous and beloved Christian Church tunes of all time. Some today recognize it in connection with or association to The Doxology (1674) by Thomas Ken ('Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow'). But the tune has its origins in the Huguenot or Genevan Psalter of 1551, entitled Pseaumes Octante Trois de David (Eighty-Three Psalms of David). However, in that Psalter the tune was associated with Psalm 134 (as translated by Theodore Beza), not Psalm 100. As a musical composition, its authorship has been ascribed to Claude Goudimel (who did compose a polyphonic arrangement), Guillaume (William) Franc (Le Franc) (1520-1570) and Martin Luther, among others. Nineteenth century scholarship pointed to Franc, in particular, as the composer. However, modern scholarship, primarily based on the discovery of a single surviving copy of the 1551 Psalter, which was deposited in the library at Rutgers University (a facsimile copy was made in 1973), indicates that the actual composer is understood to be Louis Bourgeois. Bourgeois got in trouble with the Genevan magistrates for unauthorized compositions associated with that particular Psalter, but his friendship with Calvin, who recognized his talents, enabled him to leave prison and resume his work.

The tune was not associated with Psalm 100 until the publication of the 1561 Anglo-Genevan Psalter (Four Score and Seven Psalms of David). It was employed along with an arrangement of this psalm by William Kethe, although initially ascribed to Sternhold & Hopkins. The tune was also used in the same psalter with a versification of the Lord's Prayer by William Whittingham. It took the name "Old 100th" later to distinguish from the "new" Psalter by Tate and Brady.

One may enjoy listening to the tune and reading the lyrics to 'All People That on Earth Do Dwell' here (note that the last stanza is a doxology and not part of Psalm 100).

Lewis Lupton, A History of the Geneva Bible, Vol. 5 (1973), pp. 87-88:

The most interesting feature of this edition [ie., the 1561 edition of the Anglo-Genevan Psalter] is the inclusion for the first time of the Old Hundredth 'All people that on earth do dwell'. Surprisingly enough it is under the signature of Tho. Ster:

The explanation is that Kethe translated this psalm (which was written to fit a tune composed by Louis Bourgeois for psalm 134 in Beza's Psalter of 1551) after he had left Geneva in 1560 on his way to Britain....In the English black letter edition [a copy of the 1561 Anglo-Genevan Psalter printed in England rather than Geneva] the hundredth psalm is attributed to Kethe (Psalme C. W.Ke.) at the foot of the previous page to that on which the psalm begins which is, of course, the reason the Genevan printers failed to notice the author's name and substituted the most likely one they could think of.
As far as the tune of the 'Old Hundredth' is concerned, its introduction into Britain would appear to be due to Whittingham as well as Kethe.

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