The beautiful melody dates back at least two centuries and was known simply as an "old Irish tune." In the mid 1800s it was published as an instrumental under the title "The Londonderry Air." Lyrics were added to the melody in the early 20th century, and the tune became known as "Danny Boy."
But many writers of various kinds put their own words to the tune, one of the more popular being Dottie Rambo's "He Looked Beyond My Fault and Saw My Need," which was published and sung as a Southern Gospel song.
The tune can also be found in various old hymnals in churches around the world under various and sundry titles and with wide variations in the wording. It has also been set to romantic lyrics and used as a love song.
But in every corner of the globe the tune is known. It is one of the most beloved pieces of music in history.
Here, Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra present The Londonderry Air as only they could. I have said much about Ormandy, and I won't repeat all of that here. Suffice it to say that this is a prime example of why I loved Ormandy's interpretations of great pieces of music. This is also an example of Ormandy's belief that strings, the violins, violas, cellos, bass violins, etc, form the foundation of a great orchestra. And this is why Ormandy worked relentlessly with the strings more than any other instruments to get the sound he wanted.
Folks, I hate to sound like a broken record, but this is as close to perfection as it gets. If this rendition of The Londonderry Air won't touch you and pull on your heart strings, then nothing will. It's only four minutes in length.
If for some reason the audio/vid below doesn't work, here is the link at YouTube.