Loyal Responses With Music is a newly-typeset edition of Frances’ 31-day devotional.
This is a devotional that combines sublime truth with music. There is encouragement for the soul mingled with worship.
This is a musical devotional with a song for each day of the month. Many are hymntunes, but a few are art songs for voice and piano. They range from easy to moderately difficult. Though she later composed music for this, the author’s sub-title for the original book of 31 poems was “Daily Melodies for the King’s Minstrels.” Not only so rich for individuals to sing alone unto the Lord, these are also scores for families and for church choirs. Frances Ridley Havergal (1836-1879) was a wonderfully gifted musician. Several who knew her or heard her—very distinguished music professors, performers, and others—left strong, clear accounts showing that her musical gifts were special, rare, very fine, as a pianist, a singer, and a composer. These scores are true music, and (using F.R.H.’s words) these are meant to draw both singers and hearers to “the One name which is sweeter than any music.”
The small book of 31 poems—no notes, words only, full of music—entitled Loyal Responses Daily Melodies for the King’s Minstrels was published by Frances Ridley Havergal in 1878, the fifth of the five “Royal” books by her. After she died on June 3, 1879, a hand-written list was found in her desk, “Work for 1879: ‘If the Lord will.’ ” One of the items on that list was “Set ‘Loyal Responses’ to music.” She had begun, and in her last months set a number of the poems to music (Days 2, 3, 4, 6, 14, 19, 24, 31; and likely the third to the seventh of the additional 9 scores at the end); but others were left unset when she died, and previous scores composed by her were posthumously adapted to the remaining poems. We do not know who arranged these after Frances died: Romer, Hutchings, Frances’ sisters Maria, Ellen, and Miriam, her surviving brother Francis Tebbs Havergal, others in the family and also musician friends outside the family, are possible, but we do not know. In 1881 the London firm Hutchings & Romer (the primary publisher of F.R.H.’s music scores both while she lived and after she died) published Loyal Responses with music, adding to the 31 Days of the original 1878 book also 9 further scores composed by Frances.
This performance folio score is based on the edition of The Complete Works of Frances Ridley Havergal, now very near completion and readiness to publish. The manuscript scores have not been found, but the 1881 Hutchings & Romer edition is definitive, and this is an urtext score of that edition. (In Volume V of the Havergal edition, Songs of Truth and Love: Music by Frances Ridley Havergal and William Henry Havergal, and in a Companion Volume to the edition, The Music of Frances Ridley Havergal, there is much, very valuable information on her as a pianist, singer, and composer, truly important details on her as a musician and on her compositions that remain extant today.)
Although Loyal Responses with music became very obscure (almost completely forgotten, with likely very few if any having seen or performed these scores in the past 50 or 75 or 100 years), this is a very rich, valuable body of music, truly to the Lord’s glory and the good of His people.