In an effort to raise the level of hymn singing in his parish, Anglican bishop Reginald Huber penned a number of hymns including Holy, Holy, Holy and its lesser-known cousin Brightest and Best of the Stars of the Morning (Hail the Blest Morn). When he asked his superiors about publishing a hymnal, they denied his request so Brightest and Best made its first published appearance in the Christian Observer (1811). It was his wife, Amelia, who later helped him publish Brightest and Best in their joint book Hymns Written and Adapted to the Weekly Service of the Church Year (1827).
Today, Brightest and Best is sung to a variety of tunes but, for my piano arrangement, I chose one of the more common ones: Star in the East, a folk tune with roots in the early American singing schools that used shaped notes to teach rural people to read music. I used simple rhythms and harmonies throughout my arrangement to highlight both the tune’s minor tonality and the melody’s earthy beauty. Enjoy!