Nearer My God To Thee


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Laurel D.

Guest
The scene at the end of the movie when the passengers are singing Nearer My God To Thee, is very touching i become teary every time i see this scene. There are other touching moments also. even though the movie is'nt entirely accurate is is still enjoyable to watch. Laurel D.
 
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Laurel

Guest
Hello Greg, Actually neither one, Im referring to titanic (1953) starring Clifton Webb and Barbara Stanwick. Sincerely Laurel.
 
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claire smith

Guest
the best one ive seen is james camerons "titanic" but many people say "a night to remember" is the best altough i havent seen that one.
 
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Laurel

Guest
Hi Greg, Have you seen Titanic (1953) yet? and if so, what did you think about the movie? Sincerely Laurel.
 
Apr 11, 2001
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So far I have actually found five different hymn tunes for the text of Nearer My God to Thee. I should imagine the one played was the British version. There is also a proliferation of little illustrated booklets, hard-covered and perhaps 9x6 with angels and religious pictures, giving the verses of this hymn with the date of 1912. I have 3 different ones in my collection. The disaster and hymn must have made a profound impression. These little book are not expensive and many are to be found at fleamarkets and ephemera shows./Shelley
 

Dave Gittins

Member
Apr 11, 2001
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Do you have "Communion" by Wesley? I have a midi of it, if anybody is interested and I also have a version of "Bethany" in the form of a slow waltz, from an American source.

The original tune was by Sarah Flower Adams' sister but it never caught on.

I have strong feeling that the American tune was known to the English in 1912. In Broken Hill, Australia, there is a monument to the band and the tune carved on it is "Bethany". As we tended to use English hymnals, I think the tune must have been known in England and therefore there's no problem about the English passengers recognising it or Hartley playing it.

I also believe that evangelical groups, like the Salvation Army, were using American material, under the influence of Billy Sunday, Sankey and others. These may have helped make "Bethany" familiar. Anybody with more expertise like to comment?
 
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Scott Blair

Guest
Hi Folks,

The late Eva Hart said in interview that Nearer My God to Thee was played and the setting was "Horbury".This was the setting used in A Night to Remember.

Eva was a musical child and in adult life became a professional singer.Her musical credentials might be a little better than some of the other survivors.

A few months after the disaster she had to leave a church service in a very distressed state. Why ?The Horbury setting was played to a hymn.

This causes me to believe it was played to this setting , although whether it was the last piece played , is unclear from what Eva said.

Scott Blair
 
Sep 20, 2000
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Hi, all:

I hadn't spotted this thread earlier, and in fact just posted some questions/suppositions about this on a.h.o.t. Since I know more than a few people here do not "cross over" to that NG, I thought I'd repost it and get your impressions:
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Much ado has been made over the years of the band's final selection on Titanic, drifting from "Nearer ... " to "Autumn" to "Songe d'Automne". And many sound arguments have been advanced explaining why the arrangements for "Nearer" commonly portrayed in film are unlikely, at least for Hartley and troupe. In fact, the common consensus of late would seem to be that the band last played Archibald Joyce's "Songe d'Automne", following Harold Bride's assertion of "Autumn" -- though I do wonder how long Harry was under that overturned Collapsible, and perhaps out of earshot, towards the "end".

Still, there are a few survivor articles and letters -- some apparently bogus, some not quite so contestable -- that mention hearing the hymn, in whatever melodic incarnation, wafting across the water. Charlotte Collyer's letter to her mother-in-law (posted at ET) specifically refers to it, and in this format -- a personal letter -- there's certainly little motivation for "journalistic embellishment".

In light of these "opposing" observations, I've often wondered -- and now toss up for discussion -- whether it's possible that BOTH "camps" were right. Is it perhaps possible that the last song *played* by the band was indeed "Songe d'Automne", but the last song *heard* (sung) was some form of "Nearer My God to Thee"?

We know that Roman Catholic priest Father Byles led a group in prayer as the end approached. We also now know that the ship did break apart about 5 minutes before the final (stern) submersion, and I suspect that the jolts of this, combined with the overall slope of the decks preceding the split, might well have been sufficient to "unseat" a cellist (and the rest, as well). The band was, after all, purported to be stationed at the Gymnasium alcove, fairly well amidships.

So -- and I open this to the comments of those far better versed in the tragedy than I am -- is it indeed possible that the *band's* final "tune" was not in fact the final *song* of the night? Might those remaining on the stern have simply enjoined into some version of the hymn, which was subsequently heard by those aboard the lifeboats?

A key question in my mind -- though not an absolutely essential one -- is whether Catholics of that period employed the hymn. Having been raised in that particular denomination, I have no recollection of its use in Roman Catholic services, however here I can only speak to a brief (15-year) period, c. 1960 -1975. And in raising the question, I merely interrogate the possibility that Father Byles and his group might have initiated the singing.

As a broader possibility, any of the more "popular" renditions -- the Bethany arrangement was certainly one -- might simply have been started by a single individual and joined into in spiritual empathy.

Any thoughts on this scenario -- band finishes, crowd hymns?
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Note: I see from a few of the earlier post here that the Bethany accompaniment was indeed fairly well-known and that Eva Hart declared Hortus the tune. And I believe the usual arguments against Hartley himself playing the hymn include his likely propensity toward the "Propior Deo" arrangement.

Thanks for any insights offered!
John Feeney
 
Sep 20, 2000
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Sorry -- I meant "Horbury" above. (Too much botany on the brain.)
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