I Vow to Thee, My Country

“I vow to thee, my country, all earthly things above / Entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love” are the first two lines of a patriotic poem by British diplomat Cecil Spring-Rice (1859-1918) that speaks of a Christian’s loyalty to both his homeland and the heavenly kingdom.

The tune accompanying the text is well-known as a theme from “Jupiter” in Gustav Holst’s The Planets; and in fact, Holst adapted the theme to Rice’s poem in a setting for unison voices and orchestra in 1921. Ralph Vaughan Williams included the theme as a hymn tune in Songs of Praise (1926), naming the tune “Thaxted” after the English village in which Holst resided for much of his life. Since its publication, the tune has been used to accompany a number of different Christian hymn texts.

Score, parts (Bb tpt. 1, Bb tpt. 2, F horn, tbn, tuba) — $8.99