Battle Hymn of the Republic

Julia Ward Howe’s Battle Hymn of the Republic  was first published 148 years ago today.

My father requested it be sung at the end of his funeral and gave instructions it wasn’t to be played like a dirge. The organist acted on his request which took some of the congregation by surprise and for the first few bars the singers were a few bars behind the music.

The organists told us she’d been taught it was up to her to lead the singers not the other way round. She stuck to the faster tempo and by the second verse the singers had got the message and were keeping up.

A quick trip round YouTube didn’t unearth any versions which would have met Dad’s request. I wonder why what ought to be such a rousing song is usually sung so slowly?

3 Responses to Battle Hymn of the Republic

  1. It’s a great song: almost ridiculously powerful when done right.

    A slightly more “upbeat” version is here:

    Although I personally recommend any of the recordings the Mormon Tabernacle Choir has done.


  2. homepaddock says:

    Thanks, BK. I enjoyed that.


  3. Neil says:

    BK Drinkwater is quite correct. The Mormon Tabernacle Chopir sings it in a fantastic way. Their renditions of patriotic music are just fantastic, I even feel I would like to be an American, CD’s of the choir are just great.
    Sung out of the USA is seems to become a dirge – it’s a celebration of life !


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