Described by others as "absolutely beautiful" and "truly inspired", O Love is a setting of George Matheson’s well-known hymn 'O Love that wilt not let me go'. The following arrangements of it are available here:
O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.
O Light that foll’west all my way,
I yield my flick’ring torch to thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.
O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.
O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.
played as an instrumental
sung by the Eliata Choir, Surabaya, Indonesia
with the mezzo-soprano solo played by cor anglais
In February 2014 I was asked to play for the funeral of a young woman named Amy. Both she and her family were unknown to me. During the funeral the words of Matheson’s hymn 'O Love that wilt not let me go' were read. Within five minutes of leaving the church I knew that I had to compose new music for these words. I composed the melody and the basic harmonies in about thirty minutes, in an arrangement for solo voice and chamber orchestra. I sent the music to a friend whose response was, “This is absolutely beautiful, it is truly inspired.”
The friend in question, being Welsh, suggested that it would work well for choir. I started with the male choir arrangement, in which form it was introduced to the Marazion Apollo Choir. I then did the mixed choir arrangement (with piano). It was at that point that we decided to use it in my local church. I worked the mixed choir arrangement into what would become the Festival Edition; it was in that form that my church first heard it on 9th March 2014.
I played it as people were entering the church - and people stopped in their tracks to listen. The Vicar made reference to it in his sermon, saying this:
The congregation then sang the piece, with the Festival Edition orchestral backing track prepared by me. As we sang I saw one man with tears streaming down his face. Afterwards he shook my hand, still in tears, and said simply, "Thank you".
I feel humbled by this music. I know that while I might have been the hand that put the notes on paper, it was, as my friend Jane Butler said, truly inspired. I never knew Amy Ratnett but in my mind this will forever be her song.