Welsh hymns: the most beautiful religious songs from Wales
Here are some of the most beautiful and inspiring hymns to come out of Wales down the centuries
Wales has a long and proud tradition of song, both religious and secular. Not for nothing is it known as the 'Land of Song'.
Elsewhere on the website, we looked at some of the very finest and most rousing Welsh songs: here, we've chosen some of the country's most beautiful hymns.
What are the best and most popular Welsh hymns?
'Guide Me, O Thou Greet Redeemer' ('Bread of Heaven')
This rousing hymn, often known as Wales' second national anthem (the official anthem is 'Land of My Fathers' / 'Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau'), 'Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer' is a hymn written by the great Welsh hymnist William Williams (1717-1791), with a tune (known as 'Cwm Rhondda') by John Hughes (1873–1932) in 1907.
Both the tune and hymn are often popularly known as 'Bread of Heaven', as that phrase is repeated often during the hymn and is one of the best hymns of all time.
Here are the lyrics to 'Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer'.
The Welsh also love to sing it at rugby matches as well so we named it one of the best rugby songs
'Cymru Fach' ('Dearest Wales')
The title of this patriotic song is best translated into English as 'Dear (or Dearest) Wales'. The lyrics were written in 1927 by Howell Elvett Lewis, a minister and hymn writer. The music was composed by David Richards.
Meaning 'delightful', 'pleasant' or 'melodious', this beautiful Welsh hymn tune has been pressed into service for various lyrics. Composed by Rowland Prichard, it was originally published in the composer's handbook to the children's songbook Cyfaill y Cantorion ('The Singers' Friend') in 1844.
'Hyfrydol' has been used as a setting for various hymns, including William Chatterton Dix's hymn 'Alleluia! Sing to Jesus!' and two hymns by Charles Wesley: 'Love Divine, All Loves Excelling' and 'Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus'.
Here are the words to 'Love Divine, All Loves Excelling'.
Other hymns to use the 'Hyfrydol' melody include Francis Harold Rowley's 'I Will Sing the Wondrous Story' (1886) and Philip Bliss's 'I Will Sing of My Redeemer', from 1876.
This hymn, with a tune composed by John Haydn Phillips, came top in a poll to find Wales' favourite hymn. It begins: 'O tyred i'n gwaredu, Iesu da' ('O Christ now come and save us, save us, Lord').
This hymn tune by Welsh composer Caradog Roberts (1878-1935) has been used as a setting for hymns including 'Arglwydd Iesu, arwain f’enaid' ('Lord Jesus, Guide My Soul') and 'Jesus, from thy Servants taken'.
Meaning 'invitation' in Welsh, this hymn is also known as 'Arglwydd Dyma Fi' ('Lord, Here I Am'). Some will also know the hymn by its first line, 'Mi glywaf dyner lais' ('I hear a gentle voice'). It was originally the English-language gospel song 'I Am Coming, Lord', which begins 'I hear thy welcome voice'. Words and tune alike were written in 1872 by the American Methodist minister and gospel songwriter Lewis Hartsough (1828-1919).
This lovely tune is another from the pen of John Hughes, he of 'Bread of Heaven' above. What's more, this is another instance of a tune being set to various different lyrics, including 'Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing' and 'Arglwydd, gad im' dawal orphwys' ('Lord, Let Me Rest in Peace').
'Tydi a roddaist' ('Thou Gavest')
Composed in 1938 by the well-known conductor and composer Arwel Hughes, this popular Welsh hymn has been performed by choirs up and down the country - including the famous Treorchy Male Choir, as seen above. The lyrics, meanwhile, were originally a poem by Thomas Rowland Hughes, twice a winner of the Chair at the National Eisteddfod.
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Steve has been an avid listener of classical music since childhood, and now contributes a variety of features to BBC Music’s magazine and website. He started writing about music as Arts Editor of an Oxford University student newspaper and has continued ever since, serving as Arts Editor on various magazines.