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
SAS_Brochure2012
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.

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

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Sunday 3rd February 2019 Candlemass

Nunc Dimittis in C     C V Stanford

The Nunc Dimittis, also called The Song Of Simeon, tells of the words of Simeon, who was promised by God that he would see the Messiah.  When Jesus was presented at the Temple and dedicated to God in the Jewish Tradition, being the first born son, Simeon recognised that Jesus was the Messiah.  The words are

Now, Lord, you let your servant go in peace:  your word has been fulfilled.
My own eyes have seen the salvation  which you have prepared in the sight of every people;
A light to reveal you to the nations and the glory of your people Israel.


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.

Charles Villiers Stanford
CV Stanford from Wikipedia

Sunday, 27 January 2019

Sunday 27th January 2019 Epiphany 4

Teach Me O Lord  Thomas Attwood (1765-1838)

Thomas Attwood was an English composer and organist.  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". See 30th October 2017.

Today we sang "Teach Me O Lord " which is Psalm 119 v33.

Thomas Atwood from Wikipedia

Monday, 21 January 2019

Sunday 20th January 2019 Epiphany 3

Benedictus in C   C V Stanford



The Benedictus was composed in 1909 as part of Stanford's Morning and Evening Service together with the Office of Holy Communion Op 115.  Stanford was given the choice to hear one of his services sung at Matins at York Minster in 1923 when he was a guest of the organist, Edward . "He chose the one in C", Bairstow recalled, "for he said he had never heard it!"


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.

Charles Villiers Stanford
C V Stanford from Wikipedia



O Holy Spirit, Lord of Grace.  Christopher Tye (1505-?1572)  Charles Coffin (1676-1749) Translated by John Chandler  Edited by Gerald H Knight


This is an anthem using music from Christopher Tye's "The Actes of the Apostles".

Christopher Tye was a Renaissance English composer and organist.  It is thought he was born in Cambridgeshire and became master of the choir at Ely Cathedral.  He was Edward VI's music teacher and his choral music is held in high esteem, along with many chamber works.  The only work published in his lifetime was his "The Actes of the Apostles" and it is surmised that much of his work has not survived through the centuries.

Charles Coffin wrote many hymns which have been translated into English. He was Rector of the University of Paris.  His many poems and hymns were published in his life time.

From Wikipedia

John Chandler was born near Godalming in 1806.  He is one of the first and most successful of modern translators o Latin hymns. From his many translations, some 30-40 are still in common usage, eg On Jordan's Banks The Baptist's Cry.  He died in 1876. A full list of his translations can be found at Hymnary.org 

Monday, 14 January 2019

Sunday 13th January 2019 2nd Sunday in Epiphany

Ave Verum Corpus W A Mozart (K618)

Ave Verum Corpus (Hail, true body) is a setting of the Latin Hymn, in D major.  It was written for Anton Stoll, a friend and church musician of St Stephen, Baden.

It was composed in 1791 whilst visiting his wife Constanze who was pregnant with their 6th child and staying at the spa Baden bei Wien.  It was composed for the feast of Corpus Christi.  Mozart's manuscript has only "Sotto voce" marked at the beginning with no other markings.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791)

Mozart was a child prodigy competent on keyboard and violin.  He began composing at the age of five. He performed around Europe for royalty.  At the age of 17 he was engaged as a musician at the Salzburg court but was restless and travelled looking for a better position.  Whilst visiting Vienna he was dismissed from his position in Salzburg.  He remained in Vienna, where he gained fame but no financial security.

He composed more than 600 works, many acknowledged as the finest in symphonies, concertante, operatic, chamber and choral music.  He remains one of the best loved classical composers, whose work influenced many composers.  Joseph Haydn said of Mozart "Posterity will not see such a talent again in 100 years."

W A Mozart from Wikipedia

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Sunday 6th January 2019 Epiphany

It Came Upon The Midnight Clear   Richard Stores-Willis  Arr. Barry Rose   Edmund H Sears

Edmund Sears (1810 - 1876) was a pastor of the Unitarian Church in Wayland, Massachusetts.  He wrote the poem in 1849, published in The Christian Register on 29th December 1849.

Edmund Sear from Wikipedia
The poem is usually sung to Arthur Sullivan's "Noel", adapted from an English melody in 1874, but the choir sang the American tune "Carol" written by Richard Stores-Willis (1819-1900) written in 1850.

Richard Stores-Willis
Barry Rose (Born 1934) was late to music, giving up a career in insurance to study organ at The Royal Academy of Music in London. Still studying he was the first appointed organist and choirmaster of Guildford Cathedral when it opening in 1961. He then moved to St Paul's Cathedral.




Monday, 7 January 2019

23rd December 2018 Village Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols

Benedicamus Domino        Peter Warlock (1894-1930)    Sloane MS 2593 15th Century

This is used in the Latin Catholic mass at the end of services which do not use the Gloria (Lent and Advent, Septuagesima and Passiontide. It translates as Let us Bless the Lord. It was apparently unknown in Rome before 1000AD, and may be Gallician in origin.

Peter Warlock is a pseudonym for Philip Arnold Heseltine. The name Warlock is used in all of his published works and also reflects his interest in the occult. He is best known for his song writing and other vocal music.  He was also a music critic.

Whilst at Eton he met Delius and began a long friendship.  Failing at academe, he started work as a music journalist and was very interested in folk song and Elizabethan music. His first serious compositions are from around 1915 and after a stay in Ireland studying Celtic culture and language he returned to England in 1918 and began serious composition. His major work was done in the 1920s developing his own style. He is thought to have killed himself by coal gas poisoning in 1930 due to depression fearing a loss of creative inspiration.

Warlock1924.jpg
Peter Warlock from Wikipedia

No Small Wonder   Paul Edwards (1955-)   Paul Wigmore

Paul Christison Edwards is an English composer of Anglican music.  He was educated at St Paul's Choir School and Bedford Modern School. He spent 4 1/2 years as a chorister at St Paul's and also spent a similar time as a lay clerk in Peterborough Cathedral. He has made numerous recordings of organ music on historic organs of Bedford.  His carol No Small Wonder was written in 1983.  He has written many choral work and organ music.

Paul Wigmore (1925 - 2014) started his career as a copywriter of 40 years standing before branching into hymn lyrics after being waylaid by his choir master. He wrote for school and church choirs but also church congregations.

Paul Wigmore
Paul Wigmore from his website.



The Angel Gabriel From Heaven Came. Sabine Baring-Gould  Basque traditional arr. Edgar Pettman.

This is a Basque Christmas folk carol based on the annunciation of the Virgin Mary by Archangel Gabriel.  It was collected by Charles Bordes (1863 -1909) a french music teacher and composer and paraphrased into English by Sabine Baring-Gould (1834-1924) an Anglican priest and collector of folk songs. It is commonly sung to an arrangement by Edgar Pettman (1866-1943) English organist, choral conductor and music editor.


In Dulci Jubilo   German 15th Century Arranged by Robert Pearsall (1795-1856) for 8 soloists and chorus with today's version arranged for four voices by W J Westbrook.

Translated means In Sweet Rejoicing and is thought to have been written by the German mystic Heinrich Seuse in 1328. Folklore says that Seuse heard angels singing In Dulci Jubilo and joined them in dancing in worship.

Robert Pearsall is best known for his arrangement of In Dulci Jubilo.  He was born in Bristol into a Quaker family. He was an amateur composer with most of his works published after his death although many still remain in manuscript.

Taken from our music:
The original melody employed, as a Cantus firmus, in the following compositon, is to be found in an old German book published in the year 1570, - which from its title and contents appears to have contained the ritual of the Protestant Congregations of Zweibrueken and Neuburg. Even there it is called "A very ancient song (uraltes Lied) for Christmas eve;" so there can be no doubt that it is one of those old Roman Catholic melodies that Luther, on account of their beauty, retained in the Protestant Service. It was formerly sung in the processions that took place on Christmas-eve, and is so still in those remote parts of Germany where people yet retain old customs. The words are rather remarkable, being written half in Latin and half in the upper German dialect.  I have translated them to fit the music, and endeavoured to preserve, as much as I could, the simplicity of the original. Of the melody there can be but one opinion; namely that which in spite of religious animosity, secured it the approbation of the Protestant reformers, and that of the German people during many centuries. The music in the following passages was written for the Choral Society at Carlaruhe, and was performed there in the Autumn of 1834. The original melody is distinguished by being expressed in notes of rather a larger character then those for which I am personally answerable.  
Willsbridge, Gloucestershire, 31st January 1837. R.L.P.

Robert Pearsall from Wikipedia

Torches  John Joubert (1927- ) From the Galacician

John Joubert is a British composer of South African descent. He was born in Cape Town and educated at Diocesan College, Rondesbosch, founded by the Anglican Church. He started as a painter, but by 15 years of age had moved to music although not as a performer.  In 1950 he was appointed Lecturer in Music at the University of Hull the same year as graduating from Durham with a Bachelor of Music. Torches was written in 1951 for his wife's pupils and was published 10 years later in Carols for Choirs Vol 1. He moved to Moseley in Birmingham to take up a senior lectureship in 1962, retiring in 1986.

John Joubert from Wikipedia

Lully, Lulla, Thou Little Tiny Child  Kenneth Leigton (1929-1988)

Also known as The Coventry Carol, this is possibly the earliest English carol, written for the Pageant of the Shearmen and Tailors of Coventry.  There are references to it from 1392 and a text of 1534. It is the lament of the mothers of the Holy Innocents, the children killed on the orders of King Herod.

Kenneth Leighton was born in Wakefield, Yorkshire. His parents recognised his musical talents and enrolled him in the choir school at Wakefield Cathedral. He was a pianist of precocious talent. He gained a place at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School in 1940 and whilst there gained his LRAM in piano performance. He studied Classics at Oxford after gaining a state scholarship. He simultaneously studied for a degree in Music. Gerald Finzi became an early supporter and friend and introduced him to  Vaughan Willimas.  His setting of The Coventry Carol remains one of his popular pieces.
Kenneth Leighton from Wikipedia


The Echo Carol   Alfred Whitehead (1887-1974)

Alfred Whitehead was born in Peterborough and received his earliest musical education at the cathedral in Peterborough.  He studied organ at the Royal School of Music in London. In 1912 he emigrated to Canada and became the first person to obtain the Fellowship of the Royal Canadian College of Organists.  The Echo Carol is based on a traditional French carol. Alfred whitehead is considered in Canada to be their Rutter.