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The Month's Music

The Crystal Ball

Music for July 2021

First, the good news: weather permitting, our Sunday morning services will conclude with the singing of a hymn outdoors by choir and congregation. This will, we hope, at least partly rectify the unnatural suppression of the congregation’s singing voice in worship, which we hope will soon be a thing of the past. The not-so-good news is that most of the choir will be disappearing to the ‘land of song’ in the middle of the month; though sadly not to do any singing. This means that the music for the Sunday in question will be recorded, and there won’t be any outdoor singing.

            So what do we have for you this month? On 4 July (tomorrow, as I write this) we have Let thy merciful ears (by one of the two brothers Mudd who were organists at Peterborough cathedral in the seventeenth century) as an introit, plus David Ogden’s simple but sensitive setting of the familiar words ‘Christ has no body now but yours’; the following Sunday we have something more ambitious in the form of one of the best known English verse anthems, This is the record of John by Orlando Gibbons, involving extensive alto solos contrasting with full choir to impressive effect.

            Then we come to the Sunday I mentioned above, 18 July, when you will be able to hear a recorded soprano duet, I will magnify thee, O Lord, by the eighteenth-century English composer Joseph Corfe; and on 25 July, when we observe the feast of St James, we shall make amends for our absence with two sung services. At the morning Sung Eucharist, fans of John Rutter will have another treat when we sing his popular Gaelic Blessing; and then Choral Evensong will feature two well-known items (Victoria’s passionate O quam gloriosum for the introit and the responses by William Smith) plus two new items, both by Herbert Sumsion. His setting of the canticles in A has been in our repertoire for many years, but on this occasion we shall sing his earlier setting in G: a Magnificat which dances its way gracefully through the text and a slower, but reflective and powerful, setting for Nunc dimittis. And the anthem will be his setting of They that go down to the sea in ships, an energetic and graphic setting of this famous passage from Psalm 107, which has been deservedly popular ever since it was written more than forty years ago. Last month we had twice as many in the congregation for Evensong as we did in April; can we do even better this month?


(Editorial PS: We hope that congregational singing will be possible again from 25 July, or if not then, at some point during August.)