Monday, 10 December 2018

9th December 2018 Advent 2

How Beautiful Upon the Mountains   from "Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion"
John Stainer 1840-1901 Words Isaiah 52 v. 7

Stainer was born in Southwark, London, the son of a cabinet maker. He was a chorister at  St Paul's Cathedral at the age of 10 and at 16, appointed organist at St Michael's College, Tenbury.  In 1960, he became organist at Magdalen College, Oxford. He was allowed to study for a degree so long as it did not interfere with his duties and in 1864 gained his BA, and 2 years later his MA.  He was eventually an examiner for Oxford music degrees.

In 1872 he was appointed organist at St Paul's cathedral, in 1877 an honorary fellow of the Royal Academy of Music, and an examiner for the Doctor of Music degrees for Cambridge and London Universities.  He received his knighthood from Queen Victoria in 1888.


John Stainer (Wikimedia Commons)

Sunday, 2 December 2018

2nd December 2018 Advent 1

O Thou The Central Orb  Charles Wood

This is one of Wood's many fine anthems. It is suitable for Advent.


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
From Wikipedia

25th November 2018 Christ The King

Above All Praise And Majesty   Felix Mendelssohn (1809 - 1847)

Above All Praise And Majesty is a joyful,majestic piece suitable for Christ The King, Ascension and Easter.

Felix Mendelssohn is a German born composer, organist, conductor and pianist. He was a grandson of the philosopher, Moses Mendelssohn and so born into a prominent Jewish family.  However he was brought up without religion until the age of seven when he was baptised as a Reformed Christian. he was recognised early as a musical prodigy, but his family did not seek to capitalise on his talent. Mendelssohn revived interest in the music of J S Bach. He had quite conservative tastes in his composition which set him apart from his contemporaries, such as Liszt, Wagner and Berlioz. He founded the Leipzig Conservatoire.

From Wikipedia

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

11th November 2018 Remembrance Sunday

My Soul, There is a Country,  from Songs of Farewell by C H H Parry

This is the first of Parry's "Songs of Farewell" written about the needless suffering in war. It changes tempo from slow and somber to a more lilting, uplifting, dance like quality, back and forth during the piece. The choir sang it accompanied by our Director and conducted by James Roriston.

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

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

14th October 2018 Trinity 20

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

Sunday, 7 October 2018

7th October 2018 Harvest Thanksgiving

The anthem was "The Lord Hath Been Mindful Of Us" from "ascribe Unto The Lord" by Samuel Wesley

This is the final part of Ascribe unto the Lord which is a setting of Psalm 96, verses 7-10, 2, 3 and 5 and Psalm 115, verses 4-8, 3,and 12-15.

The LORD hath been mindful of us: he will bless us; he will bless the house of Israel; he will bless the house of Aaron.
He will bless them that fear the LORD, both small and great.
The LORD shall increase you more and more, you and your children.
Ye are blessed of the LORD which made heaven and earth.

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.

Saturday 6th October 2018 Chichester Cathedral, Holy Communion according to the Book of Common Prayer

The choir were asked to sing at his annual service to celebrate the Book of Common Prayer by William Tyndale, translator, martyr, 1536.

The choir sang parts of the Communion Service in F major by Herbert Sumsion, the Benedictus, Sanctus, Agneus Dei and the Gloria.

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.

The Anthem was "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.