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