The American writer Hezekiah Butterworth once wrote that “imagination makes poems; devotion makes hymns. There can be poetry without emotion, but a hymn never.” But perhaps now the word is more associated with dirges, dense pews, and dusty hymnals, i.e. songs for a bygone era.
Obviously there’s nothing sacred about singing old songs rather than new songs. But perhaps in our eagerness for something contemporary we rush past a legacy of some of the most theologically rich, yet devotionally warm, pieces of Christian music going. That’s the belief of Page CXVI, and that’s why over the last few years they’ve chosen some of their favourite hymns, given them a modern twist, and performed them beautifully on record for our benefit.
I first came across Page CXVI a few years ago on the recommendation of a friend and downloaded their first album, Hymns, and loved it. They’re a slightly mysterious bunch and also perform their own material as The Autumn Film. They’ve since released over six Hymn albums, plus re-mixes and B-sides, and amazingly for the month of March they’re giving away their entire back-catalogue to download for free.
It’s an amazing opportunity and you can get hold of them here.