Sounding ChildhoodMain Menu30 Selections from the Top Ranking Hymns for ChildrenAlphabetical Index of Hymn TitlesScoresRecordingsTimelineCreditsCredits, Permissions and CopyrightWorks CitedRehearsal VideosPart 2--Victorian Secular SongsAlisa Clapp-ItnyreAlisa Clapp-Itnyre ea81b58f96dc50ac6f0312cb8dfd4bbc7d5bfddcSOUNDING VICTORIAN Project 2016
Rock of Ages, cleft for me
12017-06-23T17:32:57+00:00Donal Hegartyd91ac6951fc09687a65f62d6a62eb9d3c37c260311Score from: The Methodist Sunday-School Hymn and Tune-Book. London: Wesleyan Methodist Sunday School Union, 1879. Print.plain2017-06-23T17:32:57+00:00Donal Hegartyd91ac6951fc09687a65f62d6a62eb9d3c37c2603
12017-06-23T18:40:59+00:00Rock of Ages, cleft for me4plain2017-07-13T16:42:09+00:00“Rock of Ages” is a surprising hymn to represent Christ’s crucifixion in 19th-century children’s hymnbooks. It is, after all, a fairly harsh Calvinist hymn written by Augustus Toplady in 1776 which highlights Christ’s blood-letting in complex symbolism and syntax: “Let the Water and the Blood/ From Thy riven Side which flowed,/ Be of sin the double cure,/ Cleanse me from its guilt and power.” This is more mystifying when one considers that the Taylors’ immensely influential 1809 hymnbook, Hymns for Infant Minds, contained a hymn, “Lo, at noon, ‘tis sudden night,” catering specifically to children in its simple and straight-forward explanation of the crucifixion. Yet this hymn is not found in any other future hymnbook in my calculations. More appropriately, “Rock of Ages” was a favorite among adults: it was found in the top ten of three contemporary lists of adult favorites. In England, the tune “Redhead” (named for its composer, Richard Redhead) was most associated with “Rock of Ages” although in America it is better known to “Toplady” by American Thomas Hastings (from Spiritual Songs for Social Worship, 1831). The stability of these tunes seems to have aided the permanency of this hymn.