I have had a hand in composing everything here. Some pieces elaborate someone else’s work, but most are wholly my own. Most of the hymns and anthems were written to be offered in worship, and many of them have been. Many of the poems are dedicated to people for special occasions, but I trust they resonate more widely. I hope you can find much that you would like to download, whether for public worship or private use.
The earliest hymns and songs were composed between 1968 and 1979. Some of the hymns consist of my words to well-known tunes; others, of my music to well-known words. Most combine my words and music in new compositions.
On this website there are some hundred and eighty hymns, some anthems and hymn-anthems, a good number of songs, and quite a lot of poems. I plan in due course to add more hymns, songs, and poetry; some anthems as well.
A plain recording is attached to each hymn. Some use General MIDI Soundset, but most are MP3s , using either a Yamaha grand piano (thank you, Ray D’Inverno), or else Sibelius Sounds Essentials. I hope in due course to add some vocal recordings as well.
You are welcome to download from this site. I should be glad of feedback on the content, especially if you use any of this material in worship. I am not charging for downloads, but I do ask for donations, which I intend to pass on to the Bursary Fund of the Royal School of Church Music.
Strength and Tenderness
Some of the pieces here are contained in my publication Strength and Tenderness, a collection of 101 hymns and 24 poems I have composed over more than fifty years. In several genres, they range in style from ‘traditional’ four-part harmony and jazz-inflected songs through to hymn-anthems. Some consist of new words to well-loved tunes, others of new music to well-loved words, but most have both words and music by me. Appropriately expressive in character, these deeply felt hymns touch many aspects of Christian faith and experience.
The collection has garnered some warm tributes, among which are the following:
‘Doug Constable’s hymn-writing has come out of the encounter between an unusually fresh imagination and a series of very specific pastoral contexts; it is exploratory, genuinely celebratory, challenging, and mercifully free of cliché – both traditional and contemporary cliché. These are humane, candid compositions, and they will be a real gift to all.’ Rowan Williams, Archbishop Emeritus, Honorary President of The Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland
‘In this mighty collection it is clear that Doug loves music and loves words, but perhaps most of all, he loves people. He is a wonderful, natural communicator whose work shines with warmth and integrity.’ Bob Chilcott, Composer, Principal Guest Conductor BBC Singers
‘This is an exciting collection that will not only enrich the musical life of a worshipping community but also their theological understanding… The inclusion of the stories behind the pieces is refreshing – restoring the connection between hymnody and the ordinary lives of those seeking a Christian way in a complex world. ” Rev June Boyce-Tillman, MBE, Professor Emerita of Applied Music, Winchester University
Doug Constable’s fine volume ‘Strength and Tenderness’ is the product of a fine mind and a deeply felt Christian sensibility- as anyone who has experienced his dignified, sincere and dedicated ministry can attest… The volume is very well produced and published to a very high standard by Llyfrau Cambria Books. The musical settings reflect or embrace many styles and varied harmonies from the simplicity of (say) the ‘Teilo Magnificat’ to often jazz tinged piquant harmony and the neo -organum-like ‘Morley’. Similarly the poems and hymns reflect a life long meditation on the Christian faith in all its magnificent variety. This is a valuable addition to the repertoire of Christian music and literature – one that will make the individual think as well as praise and contemplate. Dr Lyn Davies, Composer, Choral Director, sometime Head of Voice at the Royal Welsh College of Speech and Drama
‘Singing his songs with others has drawn us together, inspired by his loving, believing take on life.’ Elizabeth Hume, Teacher
‘Within this extraordinary collection of hymns, of words and … wonderfully original musical arrangements, chord progressions and melodies, you will find yourself reading, then singing, truly beautiful, insightful and prophetic words.’ Adrian Snell, Composer, Recording Artist, Music Therapist
‘The hymns and poems in this book … are strong, line by line, in rhythm and form, and tender in their recognition of human weakness and their faith… and would make fine additions to any hymnal.’ J.Richard Watson, Professor Emeritus of English Literature, Durham University, author of The English Hymn (Oxford 1999
Published 2021 by Llyfrau Cambria Books, Wales, United Kingdom / Print ISBN 978-1-8384289-6-9
Available from www.cambriabooks.co.uk, Booksellers, or Amazon
Doug Constable. Contact me. Or visit my Facebook page
3 Replies to “Welcome!”
great to hear and read this again!
Dear Doug, (if I may),
My memories of you and Geoffrey Paul are as vivid as ever they can be, even though they must be 45 years old now. My wife Anne and I sneaked into Lee Abbey’s Christmas retreat for ordinands – twice! (we were officially only allow one stab at it).
It was then and there that listening to Geoffrey and engaging in Lee Abbey’s worship that I discovered a freedom and liberty for my imagination. I am for ever grateful to Geoffrey and you for you ministry at Lee Abbey. I found my tongue anew and my imagination washed and recharged. Thank you.
I am ashamed to have taken so very long to acknowledge your warm greeting. Those Ordinands’ Conferences were among the highlights of the Lee Abbey year. It is wonderful to hear how your experiences there were so blessedly releasing.
I see that you have retired to Fareham, in beloved Hampshire; Val and I were twenty years in Southampton, where an early colleague was a young woman from Fareham, Jane Hedges, now Dean of Norwich.
I wish you and Anne all joy as you go on, safely, I hope.