Hymn #558: O How Glorious, Full of Wonder

Curtis Beach (1914-1993) was inspired to write this text when looking at a World War II photograph of Cologne Cathedral in Germany.  American bombers had been instructed to destroy railroad yards nearby but not to hurt the cathedral, giving the picture an aura of both destruction and beauty.

Curtis Beach was educated at Harvard University and Boston University School of Theology and earned his Ph.D. at the University of Southern California.  Beach was ordained at the Neighborhood Church in Pasadena and served that congregation from 1943 to 1959.

This traditional Dutch melody, IN BABILONE, was first printed in 1710 in a collection of old and new Dutch peasant songs and country dances.  As three of the four phrases are the same, this simple melody is quite easily learned and must have been popular even with untrained singers.

Julius Röntgen (1855-1932) arranged this hymn for The English Hymnal (1906).  Röntgen was a distinguished Dutch pianist and composer.  He went to Amsterdam in 1877 and spent most of his career there working for musical institutions as a conductor and director.