Music of the Week

Music for the Week, 2020

Music for the week has been chosen by James Bowstead, Assistant Director of Music.

Well, here we are at Pentecost, with the entire Easter season now having passed in lockdown. There’s some excellent choral music written for Pentecost, so hopefully you’ll enjoy this week’s selection. Firstly, Thomas Tallis’s classic anthem ‘If ye love me’, setting the text from St. John’s Gospel when Jesus promises to send the Holy Spirit to his Disciples at theLast Supper. Because the text comes from the Maundy Thursday narrative, the anthem is also often sung on that day, as it was in this video from the Maundy Thursday Eucharist last year with the boys and lay clerks:

Secondly, Grayston Ives’s ‘Listen, Sweet Dove’. Grayston, or ‘Bill’, Ives was Informator Choristorum (Director of Music) at Magdalen College, Oxford for many years until March 2009, and composed a number of works for choir, of which this anthem is perhaps the best-known. It was written in 1973 and has become a firm favourite of church choirs because ofits simple, lyrical melody. The text is written by George Herbert, the seventeenth-century poet and priest, whom regular readers may remember from the selection of Vaughan Williams’s 5 Mystical Songs a few weeks ago. This recording of theboys and lay clerks was made on my very first Sunday working at Wakefield:

Finally, an anthem on a slightly grander scale – Edward Elgar’s ‘The Spirit of the Lord’. This setting of words from Isaiah 61 is the prologue from Elgar’s oratorio The Apostles, which narrates the ministry, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus from the perspective of his apostles. The anthem is often used separately, both at Pentecost and for Ordination services, and is sung here by the boys and lay clerks, with a number of additional guest singers from Parish Choirs in the Episcopal area.

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