Serendipity in musical collaboration
There is another title for the hymn “Blessed Be The Name”, it’s “All Praise To Him Who Reigns Above”. The titles refer to the same version, though it’s more likely that there’s another song sharing the title but not the melody. The biblical link to the hymn can be found in Psalm 113:2 “Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and forever more”.
The hymn echoes the psalm aptly, although this song underwent some revisions by its two authors. Interesting that one hymn has two titles and two writers. Musically, even with basic psalm text, it is quite normal to be in collaboration with one or more people to create music. In contemporary music, one reads, for example, Will.i.am. Feat. Britney Spears for “Scream and Shout” meaning both artists collaborated. In “Blessed Be The Name”, William Clark penned the verses, while the chorus or refrain was penned by Ralph E.Hudson (1887). Though it isn’t clear how their collaboration on “Blessed Be The Name” happened, both Clark and Hudson were dedicated hymn-writers of their time.
Clark was a New York pastor and district superintendent for many years, which seemed to be foretold by his stepmother that Clark would one day be a bishop. He was a participant of the joint commission of the Free and Wesleyan Methodist churches, the group that put together the Hymnal of 1910. Clark requested that no eulogy be said at his funeral, he died in 1925 Hudson served the Union Army during the Civil War after which he became a teacher and then a publisher. Hudson compiled gospel music and contributed “All Praise To Him who Reigns Above” and published quite a few of these collections. In addition to being the refrain writer of this particular hymn, the melody of it which he dubbed “Blessed Name” was his own arrangement, Midtempo, characterized by a Tenuto musical articulation, meaning the notes were played in a smooth manner, accenting points by holding these longer.