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[Hymn of the Month] Darwall’s 148th by John Darwall

Darwall's 148th by John Darwall

Darwall’s 148th or simply Darwall as it is sometimes known is the tune featured this month. The is an especially confident and optimistic tune with the resounding ascent of the final line, was composed by Reverend John Darwall (1731–1789). It was first published as a setting for Psalm 148 in Aaron William’s New Universal Psalmodist (1770) with only soprano and bass parts.

Mystery silhouette of John DarwallDarwall was an English clergyman, composer and poet born in the little village of Haughton in Staffordshire. He first attended Manchester Grammar School, and then at age 14 he was accepted to Brasenose College at Oxford University, where he graduated in 1756. First he became a curate and then later appointed Vicar of St. Matthew’s Parish in Walsall, where he lived the rest of his life until he died in December 1789.

Darwall wrote many of the tunes for the New Version of the Psalms of David by Nahum Tate and Nicholas Brady (or Tate and Brady as they commonly referred to). However, he is really best known for his setting of Psalm 148, which is most often sung to the words “Rejoice the Lord is King” (Charles Wesley) or “Ye holy angels bright” (Richard Baxter). Otherwise an accomplished amateur musician, he also wrote hymns and poetry regularly published in “The Gentleman’s Magazine” – which was a modern (for its time) monthly digest of news and commentary on any topic that educated the public.

It appears that there is no known portrait image of Darwall hence the use of a silhouette in this post. Perhaps you know of one? If you do please let us know so we can fill this gap of historical information.

This is played on our Envoy 35-F , which is a very popular church instrument.



More About Jonathan Kingston’s Musical Background

Jonathan KingstonJonathan studied the organ with Professor Ian Tracey and Ian Wells of Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral, home to one of the largest pipe organs in the world. He was appointed Organ Scholar, and subsequently Sub-Organist to Bradford Cathedral before securing positions as Assistant Director and Director of Music at two leading independent schools. He is currently Associate Director of Music at the Ordinariate Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, Piccadilly.

Jonathan’s Work With Viscount

Jonathan works with us as our very own inhouse organist – he covers several areas from sales, demonstrations, voicing of instruments and performing. His playing features on the current promotional DVD material for Viscount, and he would be very pleased to hear from any churches or individuals requiring an engaging and lively recitalist. If you would like to connect with Jonathan directly, please feel free to follow him on Twitter (@jonkingston) or by email on

More About the Organ Being Played In This Demonstration

Jonathan plays this piece on our very own Envoy 35-F A ‘Physical Modelling’ based instrument with 35 stops in a real wood veneer cabinet. It  has a huge internal library allowing the user to create 4 totally individual voice pallets from classic English through Baroque and Romantic.   It benefits from a full compliment of divisional thumb pistons and additional toe pistons. This organ also has a full 32 note pedal. For more information have a look at its specifications here.

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I have had a passion for church organs since the tender age of 12. I own and run Viscount Organs with a close attention to the detail that musicians appreciate; and a clear understanding of the benefits of digital technology and keeping to the traditional and emotional elements of organ playing.

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