This time our Hymn of the Month is the song, “Faithful Shepherd, feed me” accompanied by the beautiful tune “Pastor Pastorum” by Friedrich Silcher (1789-1860). The words, by Thomas Benson Pollock (1836-1896), are appropriate for Communion. Faithful Shepherd is a gentle, serene hymn and Silcher’s simple yet elegant hymn tune Pastor Pastorum provides a perfect musical accompaniment to Pollock’s verse.
Pastor Pastorum by Friedrich Silcher
Philipp Friedrich Silcher was born in Schnait, Germany. He was a composer, mainly known for his ‘folk’ songs but he was also an important collector of folksongs. Silcher wanted to become a teacher and at age 14 he did an apprenticeship in Remstal. His teacher at the time was a choirmaster which influenced Silcher’s development. After finishing his apprenticeship he met composers Carl von Weber and Konradin Kreutzer who both further encouraged his musical career.
In 1815, Silcher moved to Stuttgart to become a musician and music teacher. In 1817, Silcher became Music Director at the University of Tübingen, where he stayed the rest of his life. To help choral societies with songs to sing, Silcher collected, composed and edited hundreds of folk songs, tunes, and hymns. He also wrote settings and arrangements for choir and home singing. Some of the best, according to Silcher himself, was Ich weiß nicht, was soll es bedeuten, and the Loreley song.
Faithful Shepherd by Thomas Pollock
Thomas Pollock was born in Douglas, Isle of Man in 1836. He graduated at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland (BA 1859, MA 1863) and later studied medicine in London. In 1861 he instead decided to take Holy Orders and served as Curate in several churches. Thomas and his brother James were also known in the Church of England for their work at St. Alban the Martyr, Birmingham, where he ministered to the poor.
There is not a lot written about Thomas Pollock, and apart from “Faithful Shepherd”, his work is not overly represented in most of the popular hymn books in our churches today. However, he gained popularity as a most successful author of metrical Litanies. For example, the 1924 edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern includes litanies and hymns translated by Pollock from French and Latin. The Methodist Hymnbook (1933) contains the hymns “Spirit blest, who art adored”, “Jesus, with Thy Church abide” and “We have not known Thee as we ought”.
Watch the video
This is played on a custom built Envoy 23-S, which is a very popular church instrument.
About Jonathan Kingston’s Musical Background
Jonathan was an organ student while studying with Ian Tracey and Ian Wells at Liverpool Anglican Cathedral before being appointed Sub Organist at Bradford Cathedral, aged 18. Assistant Director and Director of Music appointments followed at Stowe and Bromsgrove Schools before an appointment to The King’s School in Ely where he served Ely Cathedral as a deputy organist.
Jonathan is a recording artist for Naxos, Priory and EMI Records and is an ABRSM examiner and coordinator touring the UK and internationally. As an organist, he has appeared with many leading orchestras and choirs including the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Halle, London Symphony Orchestra & Chorus and English Symphony Orchestra as well as featuring in many live broadcasts on BBC radio and television.
He is the newly appointed Director of Music at Stony Stratford Parish Church where he presides over the magnificent Willis pipe organ.
Jonathan’s Work With Viscount
Jonathan’s work with Viscount Classical Organs encompasses performing and presenting promotional and tutorial material for the company and his freelance portfolio covers educational outreach, teaching, performing, examining and musical direction. He covers several areas for Viscount 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Digital Organ Being Played
Jonathan plays this piece on an instrument based on our Envoy 23-S. A ‘Physical Modelling’ based instrument with 23 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 complement of divisional thumb pistons and additional toe pistons. The standard 23-S organ has a 30 note pedal board while the instrument in the film has a 32 note board. For more information have a look at the specifications here.
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.