Included in the first hymnbook of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the hymn “God is Love” has been sung in homes and chapels for nearly two hundred years. The lyrics were written by Thomas R. Taylor, an English poet and minister. He passed away at the age of 27 due to a chronic illness, but his legacy of faith lives on through his work. Taylor was recorded as saying, “what a glorious place heaven will be! And what is more delightful still, heaven will not be a place of rest and enjoyment merely, but I shall be actively employed in serving God…and showing forth my gratitude to him.”
BYU Singers echoes this truth as they sing an arrangement of “God is Love” by Paolo Orlandi. An award winning Italian composer, Orlandi was specifically commissioned to write a piece of music for the Singers. Director Andrew Crane submitted several texts for Orlandi to choose from as they collaborated. Though Orlandi is not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, he was moved by the lyrics of “God is Love.” The arrangement he wrote following this experience is nothing less than magnificent.
The piece premiered at BYU Singers’ November concert, and a polished recording is now available on YouTube. The choir’s voices effortlessly blend together, creating a piece that feels less like a mere performance and more like a prayer of gratitude. There are many different Christian sects in the world, all varying in belief and practice. However, we all find strength in the knowledge that God loves us and wants us to find lasting joy. Listen to “God is Love” here.