Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Sunday 9th June 2019 Pentecost

Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire       Thomas Attwood 1765 - 1838

This is based on Veni Creator Spiritus, with the lyricist John Cosin translating.  It is an office hymn for Pentecost.

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" and today's anthem.

Thomas Attwood
Thomas Attwood from Wikipedia

Saturday, 27 April 2019

21st April 2019 Easter Sunday

This Joyful Eastertide   Melody David Psalmen  Amsterdam 1685  Harmony Charles Wood 1866-1926  Words G R Woodward 1848-1934

Scripture References; st. 2 = 1 Cor. 15:51-52 ref. = 1 Cor. 15:14, 20 George R. Woodward (b. Birkenhead, Cheshire, England, 1848; d. Highgate, London, England, 1934) wrote the text of this Easter carol to fit the VRUCHTEN tune. The text expresses the joy Christ's resurrection brings to believers (st. 1); that joy provides a sense of security throughout our lives (st. 2) and gives confidence even in the face of death (st. 3). The hymn was first published in Woodward's Carols for Easter and Ascension (1894), which later became a part of the 1902 edition of his famous Cowley Carol Book. Educated at Caius College in Cambridge, England, Woodward was ordained in the Church of England in 1874. He served in six parishes in London, Norfolk, and Suffolk. He was a gifted linguist and translator of a large number of hymns from Greek, Latin, and German. But Woodward's theory of translation was a rigid one–he held that the translation ought to reproduce the meter and rhyme scheme of the original as well as its contents. This practice did not always produce singable hymns; his translations are therefore used more often today as valuable resources than as congregational hymns. With Charles Wood he published three series of The Cowley Carol Book (1901, 1902, 1919), two editions of Songs of Syon (1904, 1910), An Italian Carol Book (1920), and the Cambridge Carol Book (1924). Much of the unfamiliar music introduced in The English Hymnal (1906) resulted from Woodward's research. He also produced an edition of the Piae Cantiones of 1582 (1910) and published a number of his translations in Hymns of the Greek Church (1922). Liturgical Use: Easter season; funerals. --Psalter Hymnal Handbook, 1988

VRUCHTEN is originally a seventeenth-century Dutch folk tune for the love song "De liefde Voortgebracht." It became a hymn tune in Joachim Oudaen's David' s Psalmen (1685) as a setting for "Hoe groot de vruchten zijn." The tune is distinguished by the melismas that mark the end of stanza lines and by the rising sequences in the refrain, which provide a fitting word painting for "arisen." Although the melody has a wide range, it has become a popular Easter carol in modern hymnals. The harmonization by Dale Grotenhuis (PHH 4) makes for glorious part singing (many hymnals use a harmonization by Charles Wood). Use medium organ accompaniment, possibly with a trumpet stop or real trumpets. --Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Charles Wood (1866-1926) was born in Ireland. He was a treble chorister in the nearby St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh. He received his early education in the cathedral choir school and also studied the organ under Robert Turle and Dr Thomas Marks. In 1883, he was one of the inaugural students of the Royal College of Music, studying composition under Charles Villiers Stanford and CHH Parry. After four years he continued his studies at Selwyn College, Cambridge. In 1889 he was appointed as organ scholar in Gonville and Caius college, Cambridge, becoming a fellow in 1994 and Director of Music and organist. Following the death of Stanford in 1924 Wood took over the role of Professor of Music in Cambridge.

He is remembered for his Anglican Church music.
Charles Wood
Charles Wood from Wikipedia

George Radcliffe Woodward was an English Anglican priest who wrote mostly religious verse.  He fitted most to well known melodies usually from the Renaissance, and occasionally harmonised himself , but usually left this to his collaborator Charles Wood.  He was born n Birkenhead and educated in Elstree, then Harrow and Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge.  This Joyful Eastertide was published in "Carols for Easter and Ascension tide" in 1894.

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Good Friday 19th April 2019

A Meditation in Words and Music for Good Friday

The service started with prayers.

Were You There?  Arr. Francis Westbrook 1903 - 1975
This is an old American Spiritual,  first published in 1899, but likely composed by enslaved African - Americans.  It was the first spiritual to be published in an American hymnal.

Francis Westbrook, taken fromm Praise.org.uk  b Thornton Heath, Surrey 1903, d Harpenden, Herts 1975. Whitgift (now Trinity) Middle Sch, Croydon; Didsbury Theol Coll Manchester; ordained 1930 (Wesleyan Methodist). Distinguished pianist; BA (London), FRCO, MusD (Manchester, while in circuit ministry). Prof at London Coll of Music 1968–75; Principal, Williams Sch of Church Music, 1971–75. Held office at RSCM and Methodist Ch Music Soc; edited The Choir 1948–64. 2 tunes and 20 arrangements in The School Hymn Book of the Methodist Church 1950, which he helped to edit, as also Hymns and Songs, 1969. H&S had 6 of his tunes, Praise for Today (1974) had 3. Other music includes cantatas, motets, and anthems. Methodist though he was, FBW commended John Merbecke’s plainsong Music for the Congregation at Holy Communion (1550, some 6 years after JM compiled the first-ever English Bible concordance) as a work ‘which for simplicity and beauty has never been surpassed’; he also believed that, unlike N American churches, British ones did not offer their members ‘anything that deserves to be called a hymn book’—since they hand out no more than word-books! (Or often, not even that.) Fred Pratt Green’s tribute in verse, among Ten Friends, begins ‘Of all the people I have known well, you were the nearest to being a genius.’

Our biblical readings came from John's gospel, telling the Passion story.

John 19: 14-16 Jesus before Pilate

However interspersed between these and the hymns and motets were poems.

When Jesus Came To Golgotha  Studdert Kennedy

John 19: 16-27 Jesus is crucified

Drop, Drop Slow Tears   Orlando Gibbons

Drop, drop, slow tears is a devotional reflection, sung at Passiontide but not specific to that season. Like The King of love and Let all mortal flesh, it was a Vaughan Williams ‘marriage’: in The English Hymnal he joined a poignant text by the Jacobean poet and clergyman Phineas Fletcher to one of Orlando Gibbons’s hymn tunes (Song 46, published in 1623). Interestingly, poet and composer are linked by their connection with King’s College, Cambridge, where Gibbons was a chorister and Fletcher a student. Taken from hyperion-records.co.uk

Gibbons sang in the choir of Kings College Cambridge between 1598 and 1598, where his eldest brother was master of the choristers. He gained his Bachelor of Music in 1606. King James 1 appointed him a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal, and he was organist there from around 1615 until his death, being senior organist from 1623. He was also a keyboard player in the privy chamber of Prince Charles (later Charles 1) and organist at Westminster Abbey. He died suddenly at the age of 41.

He wrote a large number of pieces for keyboard, madrigals and many verse anthems.

John 19: 28-30 Jesus dies on the cross

Ah Holy Jesu   Johann Cruger 1598-1662 Words Johann Heermann 1585-1647

This is a German hymn for passion tide. It was written in 1630 and first published in Devoti Musica Cordis.

Johann Cruger was born the son of an Inn keeper in Gross Breesen and educated in the Lateinschule nearby. He composed numerous works and also wrote about music education.

Johann Cruger from Wikipedia

Johann Heermann  was born in Raudten. He started to write poetry at the age of 17. His earlier works were written in Latin with a few lines of German and based on the Gospels, but he then moved to German. Some of his works were set to music by J S Bach.

Johann Heerman from Wikipedia

Am I A Stone  Christina Rossetti

John 19: 31-37 Jesus is brought down from the cross

In Evil Long I Took Delight  John Newton

O Saviour Of The World  John Goss 1800 - 1880

Sir John Goss was a boy chorister in The Chapel Royal and later a pupil of Sir Thomas Attwood, organist at St Paul's cathedral.  He spend a short time in the chorus of an opera company before being organist at a number of churches, finally at St Paul's where he worked hard to improve the musical standards. His works are mostly vocal, both sacred and secular.  From 1827 until 1874, he was a professor at The Royal Academy of Music teaching harmony.  He taught Arthur Sullivan and John Stainer who succeeded him as organist at St Paul's.

upright=Goss circa 1835
Sir John Goss from Wikipedia
By Faith We Serve Him  Parminer Summon

The service concluded with prayers.

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Sunday 14th April 2019 Palm Sunday

The Crucifixion    John Stainer

A Meditation on the Sacred Passion of the Holy Redeemer  for solo tenor and bass voices and chorus with hymns to be sung by the congregation

Taken from the Novello edition 1998.

The Crucifixion was first performed in St Marylebone Parish Church on 24th February 1887 and published by Novello the same year. In 1915 Vovello issued a "revised edition" in which the only alterations made are substitutions of words, There is no obvious verbal or theological reasons for the changes, however the alterations may have been made by the librettist and have been retained.

The piece follows the story from Jesus and his disciples going to the garden of Gethsemane, and Jesus praying and asking his disciples to watch over him, moving the story to his arrest and trial, Calvary and the crucifixion and finished with the death of Christ on the cross.  The soloists set the scene and tell the story, with lovely choral interludes, many of which are well known, including "God So Loved The World" and beautiful hymns, whose "proper" titles are pretty meaningless, but the first lines are instantly recognisable, and our congregation joined in.

John Stainer was born in Southwark, London in 1840. He was an English composer and organist.  Much of his music is not longer performed except for The Crucifixion. His work as an organist and choir trainer set the standards for Anglican Church Music still used today.  He was a chorister at St Paul's Cathedral from age ten, and organist of St Michael's College, Tenbury at the age of 16.  He was later organist at Magdalen College, Oxford and later St Paul's Cathedral.  He had to give up due to ill health and poor eyesight, but became Professor of Music at Oxford.  He died suddenly in Italy in 1901 whilst on holiday.

Sir John Stainer, Wikipedia

Our soloists were:
Dr Martin Grant Ridley
Martin Ridley Tenor
Peter Webster Baritone
Our soloists were excellent and their voices blended so well.  Fred Walker, one of our basses, was the "voice from the choir".

The choir was augmented by other singers who joined us for this occasion and they were very welcome and we hope to enjoy their company on other occasions  (Our annual Fauré Requiem for instance).  Keep a look out on this blog site and also the main blog for details of upcoming singing days.

Friday, 12 April 2019

Sunday 7th April 2019 Passion Sunday Lent 5

Jubilate in B flat  Stanford

Taken from the Novello Copy:
Sir Charles Villiers Stanford has a perverse relationship with posterity.  Remembered today largely for his choral miniatures, this restless symphonist was the unwilling Janus of British music. A significant presence on the European scene in his own lifetime, he was an outspoken critic of Wagner, Strauss and modernism in general. Nevertheless, as a formalist with flair and skill, his influence catalysed much of the great English Music of the 20th century.  As fellow composer George Dyson said: "In a certain sense the very rebellion he fought was the most obvious fruit of his methods". The Jubilate in B flat displays the composer's trademark of thematic structures.
Also see 21.5.2017.

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

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Sunday 24th March 2019 lent 3

"O Saviour of the world"  Sir John Goss (1800 - 1880)

Sir John Goss was a boy chorister in The Chapel Royal and later a pupil of Sir Thomas Attwood, organist at St Paul's cathedral.  He spend a short time in the chorus of an opera company before being organist at a number of churches, finally at St Paul's where he worked hard to improve the musical standards. His works are mostly vocal, both sacred and secular.  From 1827 until 1874, he was a professor at The Royal Academy of Music teaching harmony.  He taught Arthur Sullivan and John Stainer who succeeded him as organist at St Paul's.

"O Saviour of the World" is a suitable anthem for Lent, Holy Week or Communion, The words are from the Anglican Order for the Visitation of the Sick.

upright=Goss circa 1835
Sir John Goss from Wikipedia

Come and Sing  The Crucifixion by John Stainer

We are hosting a Come and Sing performance of  The Crucifixion by John Stainer on Sunday 14th April (Palm Sunday). Non singing supporters are most welcome to come to the performance and to join in the hymns.

If you already know the work - great, but if not don't let that hold you back.  The pre-rehearsal will take you through it and you'll be with fellow singers who know it well, so if you haven't done any choral singing since you were at school, then this is your chance to start again.

Participants who don't own a score can borrow one on the day - just ask at registration.

Singers should arrive from 3pm so the rehearsal can begin promptly at 3.30pm.  There will be a break at about 5pm for tea and the performance will be at 6pm.

Sidlesham Church is just off the B2145, Chichester to Selsey road.  There are regular buses (the Selsey Link) from Chichester Bus Station and Selsey.  The nearest bus stop is by The Anchor and the church is a 100m walk down Church Lane to the north of the pub.  If travelling by car, parking is available by the Church Hall in Church Farm Lane which is the road just south of the pub.  Car share if you can.  The route from the hall to church will be marked.

There is disabled access to the church, contact us through the "contact us" page on the website if you require one of the small number of disabled parking spaces.  Toilets are in the Parish Rooms adjacent to the church.

The cost is £5 for singers and £2.50 for members of the audience (Students £4 and £1).  You can book in advance or pay on the day, cash or cheque only, as we do not have facilities for debit and credit cards.

If you have any other inquiries, please contact our Director of Music via the "contact us" page on the website, 

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.