Sunday, 28 November 2021

Sunday 28th November 2021 first Sunday in Advent

 In Night's Dim Shadows Lying Advent Carol arranged by George Guest (1924 - 2002)

This is an English translation of In Noctis Umbra Desides by C Coffin (1676-1749) translated by W J Blew.

1. In night’s dim shadows lying,
Our limbs fast lock’d in sleep,
To thee, with faithful sighing,
Our souls their vigil keep.

2. Desire of every nation,
Hear, Lord, our piteous cry;
Thou Word, the world’s salvation,
Uplift us where we lie.

3. Lord, be thine Advent hasten’d,
Lest sin thy people mar;
The gates which Adam fasten’d—
The gates of heav’n, unbar.

4. Son, to thine endless merit,
Redeemer, Saviour, Friend,
With Sire and Holy Spirit
Be praises without end. 

George Guest was born in Bangor, North Wales and was a chorister at Bangor and chester cathedrals, later becoming sub organist at Chester. He served with the RAF in WWII and after that was organ scholar at St John's College Cambridge in 1947, becoming University organist and choirmaster in 1951 which he held until 1991.

From 1956-1982 he was lecturer in music at Cambridge University and has been President of the Royal College of Organists and the Association of Cathedral Organists. he has also directed the Berkshire Boys Choir, Tanglewood, Massachusetts in 1967 and 1970.

Dr Guest conducted St John's College Choir around the world and under his direction the choir has made a multitude of recordings.

Sunday, 21 November 2021

Sunday 21st November 2021 Evensong at the church of St Mary The Virgin, Barnham

Mrs Chivers and the choir were invited to sing Evensong at Barnham.

The Magnificat and Nunc Dimitis in B flat  C V Stanford

Taken from Wikipedia.
The Magnificat (Latin for "[My soul] magnifies [the Lord]") is a canticle, also known as the Song of Mary, the Canticle of Mary and, in the Byzantine tradition, the Ode of the Theotokos . It is traditionally incorporated into the liturgical services of the Catholic Church (at vespers) and of the Eastern Orthodox churches (at the morning services). It is one of the eight most ancient Christian hymns and perhaps the earliest Marian hymn. Its name comes from the incipit of the Latin version of the canticle's text.

The text of the canticle is taken directly from the Gospel of Luke (1:46–55) where it is spoken by Mary upon the occasion of her Visitation to her cousin Elizabeth. In the narrative, after Mary greets Elizabeth, who is pregnant with John the Baptist, the latter moves within Elizabeth's womb. Elizabeth praises Mary for her faith (using words partially reflected in the Hail Mary), and Mary responds with what is now known as the Magnificat.

Within the whole of Christianity, the Magnificat is most frequently recited within the Liturgy of the Hours. In Western Christianity, the Magnificat is most often sung or recited during the main evening prayer service: Vespers in the Catholic and Lutheran churches, and Evening Prayer (or Evensong) in Anglicanism. In Eastern Christianity, the Magnificat is usually sung at Sunday Matins. Among Protestant groups, the Magnificat may also be sung during worship services, especially in the Advent season during which these verses are traditionally read.

The Nunc dimittis, also known as the Song of Simeon or the Canticle of Simeon, is a canticle taken from the second chapter of the Gospel of Luke, verses 29 through 32. Its Latin name comes from its incipit, the opening words, of the Vulgate translation of the passage, meaning "Now let depart". Since the 4th century it has been used in services of evening worship such as Compline, Vespers, and Evensong.

The title is formed from the opening words in the Latin Vulgate, “Nunc dimittis servum tuum, Domine" ("Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O Lord"). Although brief, the canticle abounds in Old Testament allusions. For example, "Because my eyes have seen thy salvation" alludes to Isaiah 52:10.

According to the narrative in Luke 2:25-32, Simeon was a devout Jew who had been promised by the Holy Spirit that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah. When Mary and Joseph brought the baby Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem for the ceremony of redemption of the firstborn son (after the time of Mary's purification: at least 40 days after the birth, and thus distinct from the circumcision), Simeon was there, and he took Jesus into his arms and uttered words rendered variously as follows:

Charles Villiers Stanford
C V Stanford from Wikipedia

O Thou the Central Orb  Charles Wood

See Mattins earlier today.

Sunday 21st November 2021 3rd Sunday of Advent

 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

Sunday, 14 November 2021

Sunday 14th November 2021 Second before Advent. Remembance Sunday

So They Gave Their Bodies  Peter Aston (1938- 2013)  From Pericles' Funeral Oration (Athens 431BC) translation Alfred Zimmern

Peter Aston was born in Birmingham.  He studied at The Birmingham School of Music and The University of York.  In 1964 he was a lecturer in music at The University York. Ten years layter he was appointed Professor of Music at The University of East Anglia and eventually Emeritus Professor of Composition.  He is best known for his liturgical works although also wrote chamber works for voice and instrument, choral and orchestral works and an opera for children. He was a lay canon in Norwich Cathedral and founded the Norwich Festival of Contemporary Church Music. He founded the Tudor Consort and English Baroque Ensembles.

Peter Aston from The Morley Consort of Voices
Pericles' Funeral Oration was written by Thucydides for his history of the Peloponnesian war. Pericles delivers the oration to not only bury the dead, but to praise democracy.

"So they gave their bodies to the commonwealth and received, each for his own memory, praise that will never die, and with it the grandest of all sepulchres, not that in which their mortal bones are laid, but a home in the minds of men, where their glory remains fresh to stir to speech or action as the occasion may require."

Pericles' Funeral Oration by Philipp Foltz


Sunday, 7 November 2021

Sunday 7th November 2021 Third before Advent

 "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

Saturday, 6 November 2021

Sunday 31st October 2021 All Saints

 "Give us the wings of faith" by Ernest Bullock, words Isaac Watts.

This anthem was written for All Saints' Day, the words from a hymn by Isaac Watts.

Sir Ernest Bullock (1890-1979) was not primarily a composer, but an educationalist and organist.  He was born in Wigan, where he became organist at his parish church. He was then assistant organist at Leeds Parish Church in 1907.  In 1908, he received his Bachelor of Music from the University of Durham, gaining his Doctor of Music in 1914. In 1912, he was assistant organist at Manchester Cathedral.  After WW1 he was organist at St Michael's College, Tenbury, almost immediately moving to Exeter as cathedral organist in 1919.  In 1928 he succeeded Sir Sidney Nicholson as Master of Choristers in Westminster Abbey.  He provided music for the coronation of King George VI, writing most of the fanfares for that and also the coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953.
 In 1941, Bullock went to Glasgow as the Gardiner Professor in Music at the university. In 1952 he became director of the Royal College of Music.  He was knighted in 1951 and he retired in 1960.
Isaac Watts (1674-1748) was born in Southampton, the son of a committed religious nonconformist. His father, also Isaac was twice incarcerated for his beliefs.  He received a classical education at the King Edward VI school, but was barred from attending Oxford or Cambridge universities as they were restricted to Anglicans. He went to the Dissenting Academy at Stoke Newington in 1690. He was pastor of a large independent chapel in London where he helped train preachers.  However, his religious opinions were more ecumenical than was usual for a nonconformist. He promoted education and scholarship rather than preaching for a particular sect. He is famous for the writing of the words of hymns. He promoted hymn singing and his prolific hymn-writing helped to usher in a new era of English worship.
Isaac Watts, by unknown artist {Wikimedia commons]

The Communion Service in F Major  Darke 

The choir sang the Sanctus, Benedictus and Agnus Dei

This setting was dedicated to the Rev. John H Ellison M.V.O. Rector of St Michael's, Cornhill, E.C.

Harold Edwin Darke (1888-1976) was born in Highbury, London.  His first post as organist was at Emmanuel Church, West Hampstead from 1906 - 1911.  He became organist at St Michael's, Cornhill in 1916 and stayed there until 1966, leaving for a short time to deputise for Boris Ord as Director of Music at King's College, Cambridge during the second World War.  Darke started lunchtime concerts at St Michel's in 1916 and these are the thought to be the longest running lunchtime organ concert series in the world.

He is best known for his setting of Christina Rossetti's poem "In the bleak midwinter".  His othr music still performed are his Communion Services in E minor, F major and A minor, and his Magnificat and Nunc Dimitis in F major.

Sunday, 24 October 2021

Sunday 24th October 2021 Last Sunday of Trinity Bible Sunday

 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