This hymn is so ubiquitous as to possibly be the most recognizable piece of Christian music ever. A simple pentatonic tune in common meter carries a weighty lyric that marvels at the grace of a loving God to people who deserve only His wrath.
The choir begins with ooo-ing for two stanzas, providing a rich backdrop for the baritone soloist. The third stanza features the choir alone at a somewhat faster tempo.
The fourth stanza stays at the faster tempo, and has the baritone accompanied by a rhythmic figure in the choir.
The final stanza has the choir taking the lead with the baritone signing a descant. A surprise ending leads to a triple Alleluia! to finish the piece strong.
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Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind but now I see.
'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.
The Lord has promised good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.
As long as life endures.
Through many dangers, toils, and snares,
I have already come.
'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
--- John Newton
When we've been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we'd first begun.
--- John P. Rees
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
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M4A sound sample: Les Loriots de Cap-Rouge
Baritone: Timothy Vermilyea
Cap-Rouge, Quebec Canada
Recorded live at Seminaire St-François, Cap-Rouge, May 18, 2013
AMAZING GRACE, an American melody with lyrics by John Newton and John P. Rees, arranged by Tom Kirkland for baritone solo with unaccompanied SATB choir, comes in a pdf file of 212K, with a nine-page score and a license page, ten pages in all. Performance time should be about four minutes.
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Last update: 4 March 2021