Sunday, 17 March 2019

Sunday 17th March 2019 Matins Lent 2

Jubilate in C Major    C V Stanford.

Because we are in Lent, we sing the Jubilate.  We used Stanford's setting in C major.

Sir Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924) thought to be one of our great British composers was actually Irish, born in Dublin, although educated at The University of Cambridge and then studied music in Leipzig and Berlin.

Whilst an undergraduate, he was appointed organist of Trinity College, Cambridge and was one of the founding professors of the Royal College of Music, where he taught composition for the rest of his life.  He was also Professor of Music at Cambridge.  His pupils included Gustav Holst and Ralph Vaughan Williams whose fame went on to surpass his own.

He is best remembered for his sacred choral compositions for church performance in the Anglican tradition. Along with Hubert Parry and Alexander Mackenzie, he was thought responsible for the renaissance of music in the British Isles.

head and shoulders shot of an elderly man with full head of hair, moustache and pince-nez
C V Stanford from Wikipedia

 Hide Not Thy Face From Us      Farrant

The text is Psalm 27 verse 10.

Richard Farrant was an early English composer and like many from his era, his early life is not well documented. He is listed as a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal in 1552 so it is speculated that he was born around 1525.

He was active in ceremonies around the royal family participating in the funerals of Edward VI, Mary I and the coronations of Mary I and Elizabeth I.

As well as being a composer he also wrote plays and he created the first Blackfriars Theatre.

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Sunday 10th March 2019 1st in Lent


The anthem was "Turn thy face from my sins" by Thomas Attwood (1765 - 1838)  based on Psalm 51 vv 9-11.

Attwood was born in London, the son of a musician in the royal band. He became a chorister in the Chapel Royal by the age of nine.  He was sent abroad to study at the expense of the Prince of Wales (later George IV) who was impressed by his skill at the harpsichord.  He was a favourite pupil of Mozart. He returned to London in 1787.

In 1796 he was made organist of St Paul's and the same year composer of the Chapel Royal.  For George IV's coronation he wrote the anthem "I was glad".

Much of his work is forgotten, only a few anthems regularly performed including "Turn thy face from my sins".


Thomas Attwood
Thomas Attwood from Wikipedia

6th March 2019 Ash Wednesday

Call to Remembrance  Richard Farrant   d.1580

This is based on Psalm 25 verses 5 and 6.

Richard Farrant was an early English composer and like many from his era, his early life is not well documented. He is listed as a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal in 1552 so it is speculated that he was born around 1525.

He was active in ceremonies around the royal family participating in the funerals of Edward VI, Mary I and the coronations of Mary I and Elizabeth I.

As well as being a composer he also wrote plays and he created the first Blackfriars Theatre.

Sunday 3rd March 2019 Transfiguration

Ave Verum Corpus   Edward Elgar

Ave verum corpus  is traditionally a communion hymn written by Pope Innocent VI, set to music by many composers over the years.

Edward Elgar (1857-1937) was born in a village close to Worcester.  His father had a music shop in Worcester and tuned pianos. Elgar was mostly self taught.  His influence grew in the 1880's and 1890's  despite his being a Roman Catholic in a largely Anglican community. In 1889 he married one of his pupils, Caroline Alice Roberts, against opposition from her family. She played a major part in his career development.

Elgar is one of the great English composers, who has left a legacy of great orchestral and choral works.


image of a middle aged man in late Victorian clothes, viewed in right semi-profile. He has a prominent Roman nose and large moustache
from Wikipedia


The Irish Blessing   Bob Chilcott  The choir sang this to welcome Aleks into our Christian community, one of our junior choristers as he was baptised today.

This is a traditional Irish blessing put to music by Bob Chilcott

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be ever at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields
and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

As a composer, conductor, and singer, Bob Chilcott has enjoyed a lifelong association with choral music, first as a chorister and choral scholar in the choir of King's College, Cambridge, and for 12 years as a member of the King's Singers. He became a full-time composer in 1997, embracing his career with energy and commitment, and producing a large catalogue of music for all types of choirs which is published by Oxford University Press.
Music for Christmas forms a considerable part of his most popular repertoire, and works for the season include Wenceslas, My Perfect Stranger, and On Christmas Night. In his carols he sets both new and traditional texts, and writes for mixed-voice and upper-voice choirs.
He has written substantial sacred works including the St John Passion for Wells Cathedral Choir and the Salisbury Vespers. A Little Jazz Mass and the Requiem are amongst a number of works which continue to be performed worldwide. Other works include The Angry Planet, composed for the 2012 BBC Proms, and The Voyage for Age UK Oxfordshire, which in 2017 was nominated for a Royal Philharmonic Society Award. He has written many pieces for children, including his much-loved song, Can you hear me?, and a significant amount of music for the church. In 2013 he wrote The King shall rejoice for the service in Westminster Abbey to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the coronation of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.
Bob has conducted choirs in more than 30 countries worldwide and has worked with many thousands of amateur singers across the UK in a continuing series of Singing Days. For seven years he was conductor of the Chorus of The Royal College of Music in London and since 2002 he has been Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Singers.
His music has been widely recorded by leading British choirs and groups including King's College, Cambridge, Wells Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, The King's Singers, The Sixteen, Tenebrae, The BBC Singers, The Bach Choir, Commotio, and Ora. In 2016 Bob enjoyed a collaboration with the celebrated singer Katie Melua and the Gori Women's Choir on the album In Winter, which reached the top 10 in the album charts in the UK and Germany. His first Christmas disc, The Rose in the Middle of Winter, was recorded by Commotio. In 2017 two new discs were released by Commotio and Choralis – All Good Things on Naxos, and In Winter's Arms on Signum, his first recording collaboration with an American choir. Newer recording projects are with Gloucester Cathedral Choir, Houston Chamber Choir, and Wroclaw Philharmonic Choir.
In 2017 Bob was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of The Royal School of Church Music.

Taken from  bobchilcott.com

Bob Chilcott in January 2009
Bob Chilcott from Wikipedia

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Sunday 24th February 2019 2nd before Lent

Crossing The Bar  Sir H Parry   Alfred Lord Tennyson

Following the nautical theme of the Gospel and Hymns today the Anthem was the famous poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson, put to music by H Parry.

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.

Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) was a British poet, and for much of Queen Victoria's reign was Poet Laureate

Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson by George Frederic Watts.jpg
Alfred Lord Tennyson, from Wikipedia

C H H Parry was born in Bournemouth in 1848 into a rich family and was educated at Eton where he also gained his music degree.  He went to study further at Oxford.  His music influenced other great English composers such as Elgar and Vaughan Williams.  He wrote his best music in his later years and this include his Songs of Farewell.  He died in Rustington in 1918, just before the end of the Great War.

Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry
From Wikipedia

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Sunday 17th February 2019 Third before Lent

Te Deum Laudamus  H Sumsion

This was written for the Three Choirs Festival in Worcester 1935.

The Te Deum Laudamus is a very early Christian hymn of praise traditionally attributed to Saint Ambrose and Saint Augustine.  It is sung as part of Matins.

Herbert Sumsion (14.1.1899 - 11.8.1995) was an English musician and organist at Gloucester Cathedral from 1928 -1967. As a major figure is the Three Choirs festival he had links with the major 20th century composers.  Although known primarily as a cathedral organist, his work was far ranging.


Herbert Sumsion on Discogs
H Sumsion from Discogs

Blest Are The Pure In Heart    H Walford-Davies

This is a short anthem.  The words are by John Keble (1792-1866) who was an Anglican priest, poet and theologian. He originated and lead The Oxford Movement, and kept it going after the conversion to Catholicism by John Newman threatened it. He wrote numerous hymn texts.

Sir Henry Walford-Davies (1869-1941) was born into a musical family.  He was accepted as a chorister at St Georges Chapel, Windsor in 1882. He left the choir when his voice broke 3 years later. The same year he was appointed organist at the Royal Chapel of All Saints, Windsor. He gained a BA from Cambridge in music. In 1890 he got a scholarship for the Royal College of music in composition.  His most substantial success was with his cantata Everyman in 1904.

Walford Davies 001.jpg
Walford-Davies from Wikipedia


Sunday, 10 February 2019

Sunday 16th February 2019 4th before Lent

"Lead me Lord" from "Praise the Lord, O my soul" by Samuel Sebastian Wesley

"Praise the Lord, O my Soul" was written in 1861 and contains the short anthem "Lead me Lord". It was composed when Wesley was organist at Winchester College and Cathedral. "Lead me Lord " is the final section of the work, and has a wondrous simplicity with 2 short solo parts which lend themselves beautifully for young choristers starting on solo work.

Samuel Sebastian Wesley (1810 - 1876) was the illegitimate son of Samuel Wesley and Sarah Souter, and grandchild of Charles Wesley. He was a choirboy in the Chapel Royal and then embarked on a musical career.  He was appointed organist at Hereford Cathedral in 1832 and then married the Dean's sister.  He moved to Exeter Cathedral in 1835 and 1842, Leeds Parish Church, 1849 - Winchester Cathedral, 1865 - Gloucester Cathedral.  In 1839 he achieved his Bachelor of Music and Doctorate of Music from Oxford.  He became Professor of Organ in the Royal Academy of Music in 1850.

His work was almost exclusively for the Anglican church.  With Father Willis he is jointly credited with the invention of the concave and radiating pedal board for organ which has now become the standard internationally.

Samuel Wesley from Wikipedia