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Articles

Vol. 52 no. 4: Spring 2019

“Jerusalem” Set to Music: A Selected Discography

  • Jason Whittaker
Submitted
11 April 2019
Published
11 Apr. 2019 — Updated on 28 Mar. 2022
Versions

Abstract

Blake’s stanzas from the preface to Milton a Poem, better known as the hymn “Jerusalem,” are by far the most popular of his poems to have been set to music. While researching versions for a book on “Jerusalem,” I discovered references to some 406 audio recordings and scores (a total that I suspect may still be expanded upon). These date from 1908—when Henry Walford Davies published the first in England’s Pleasant Land, a set of three-part songs—to the reinterpretation of Hubert Parry’s hymn by Tokio Myers and Jazmin Sawyers for the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Donald Fitch’s catalogue was published in 1990 and thus misses the vast majority of recordings that appeared following the introduction of the CD in the late 1980s; he also omits more or less completely popular music versions, which had already begun to appear in the postwar period.