Wilfred Heaton (1918 – 2000) and Dr. Kenneth Tout, OBE (b. 1924) first met in the 1940s. At that time they were both Salvationists. Ken Tout was a full-time Salvation Army Officer for some years. In the 1950s, they were considered among the Salvation Army’s most original voices, Heaton for his musical adventures and Tout for the modern style of his devotional lyric poetry. Composer and poet collaborated on three choral songs. Two were published in The Musical Salvationist – Intercede, O Lord and A City Prayer. The third, this haunting Good Friday meditation, was left unfinished. In the manuscript, which Heaton gave to Salvationist musicians Kenneth and Patricia Downie, he sets one verse, with text added only to the soprano line. Dr. Tout has been unable to trace the other two original verses, if indeed they were ever written. In December 2003, after recovering from serious illness, he added two new stanzas to complete his poem. In this published edition, the full text has been added to all voices by the editor. As Dr. Tout remarked in a letter accompanying the new material, “I have used the more modern approach, where rhyming is useful but it does not have to be at the end of lines on a set basis, and internal rhyming is just as good. Tey stand as my homage to the truly great Wilfred, an old friend of mine from the 1940s.”Heaton - Eternal Decision
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