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The Month's Music

The Crystal Ball

Music for May 2021

Well, we’re back in business again, even if we have had to relocate.[1] And with the exception of Trinity Sunday, we hope to be singing in the flesh throughout this month and beyond. To the music, then.

            On 2 May, we introduce a new setting for the Eucharist. John Bertalot’s Johannesburg Service uses the musical language of South Africa, and I can safely say that nothing quite like it has ever been heard in Uppingham church; listen and enjoy. In more conventional idiom, we have the Coronation communion motet O taste and see by Vaughan Williams as the introit for that morning, plus a treat for John Rutter fans in the form of his Look at the world, for which he also wrote the words. The following week we have Peter Nardone’s now familiar I give to you a new commandment, incorporating the plainsong Ubi caritas; and on Thursday 13, Ascension Day, we have the first of two contributions by Sir William Harris when we perform his luminous Holy is the true light at the evening Sung Eucharist. For the Sunday after Ascension, we shall be reviving another anthem by this composer: All creatures of our God and King sets selected verses from the well-known hymn in a joyful and almost madrigalian style, suitable for the triumphal theme of the Sunday.

            That brings us to Whitsunday, 23 May, when we have two sung services. In the morning O Holy Spirit, Lord of grace, adapted from Tye’s music for The Actes of the Apostles, is the introit, with more Rutter (I will sing with the spirit, the words of the RSCM motto) for the anthem; in the evening, Choral Evensong will feature Tallis’s miniature O Lord, give thy Holy Spirit, the responses by Old Uppinghamian Humphrey Clucas, Stanford’s great C major setting of the canticles (his personal favourite) and Grayston Ives’s music to clothe verses by George Herbert, Listen, sweet Dove. Last month we had a congregation of five for our first live Evensong since lockdown began last year; there’s plenty of room for more (even if you can’t yet join in with the hymns)!

            As I noted above, we can’t manage a live choir for Trinity Sunday, which is rather sad; but we can offer you our recording of Tchaikovsky’s well-loved Hymn to the Trinity in compensation for our absence. More next month.


[1] Perhaps one day someone will explain why the formation deemed safe for five months last year (before anyone was vaccinated) has now been deemed unsafe. Another of life’s little mysteries.