For All The Saints Who From Their Labors Rest

William Walsham Howe / Ralph Williams
Arrangement 2005 Paul Marxhausen All Rights Reserved

MP3 Demo version
MP3 live version, 11/2/2008

Comments: I love how this melody and the words work with the slower tempo and jazzier chords BUT I have to tell you that I ran into a couple of "downsides" with this arrangement.

The first is that when you slow tempos dramatically as I've done here and on other hymns in this collection, it may bring new feeling to the lyric but it may also increase the need to BREATHE beyond what is comfortable for people singing it!

The other "problem" was a matter of expectations. This song is a "must" for All Saints Day and on a recent All Saints Day, I had the praise band sing this arrangement instead of the congregation, because of the different harmonies and heroic oxygen capacity required. Well, I then heard from our church music director, who had heard unhappiness from congregation members: people expect that they will get to sing "For All the Saints" on All Saints Day, period, case closed. Kind of like "Jesus Christ is Risen Today" is one of those non-negotiable Easter songs that people really look forward to coming to church to sing with heart and soul, our people WANT to sing this one. And while I like this arrangement, the hymnal version does have a gloriously vigorous march tempo to it, and a melody that builds wonderfully to the end of each verse with the massed voices of young and old.

So I guess the thing is: by all means use this some time during the season and know that it works well as an instrumental where incidental music is needed, but don't deny your people the original hymn.

Suggestion: with All Saints coming up, I tried playing this score back at 95 beats/minute per quarter instead of 70 ... sounds much more practical for singing with the congregation.

The live version posted above demonstrates a reasonable tempo.