This is one of the most well known melodies in Western hymnody – also variously known by other titles: “The Doxology” (Thomas Ken, 1764) would be be perhaps the most recognizable in many churches, but there have been many other lyrics composed for this music from 1551, originally found in the 2nd edition of the Geneva Psalter, and usually attributed to Loys Bourgeois, who is also believed to be one of the many scholars involved in the translation of the Geneva bible into the English language.
The words are thought to have been written by William Kethe sometime before the first publication of the hymn in 1561. He was probably a Scotsman, fleeing to the continent to escape persecution from the hand of Queen Mary’s dominion.
The hymn appears as well in the Scottish psalter of 1564 and all subsequent English and Sottish Psalters.
The melody has been adapted and borrowed for many uses other than sacred settings; for example Hindemith employed it in “Trauermusik”, which he wrote in a half day, in homage to King George V, who died unexpectedly before a concert that Hindemith was to perform for him. Mendelssohn used it in his Piano Trio in Cm Opus 66, and Benjamin Britten in his cantata from 1948 entitled Nicholas. There are too many other examples to mention here.
We have a unique orchestral arrangement of All People That On Earth Do Dwell availble for immediate download here at the Wedding Music Project. It begins with solo oboe on the first phrase; a clarinet makes it a duet on the second, and then lines 3 and 4 are a woodwind trio, a bassoon being added. A light harp part builds a bridge to the next section featuring strings and choir vocals, and before the tune is finished, it has built to a tremendous crescendo with the addition of a brass section, various percussion instruments, and pipe organ.
To hear short examples of our wedding music, including All People That On Earth Do Dwell, click here. Check out this informative article with great ideas and suggestions as you consider hymns for your wedding.