Chapel musicians and ministers are selecting Choral Evensong services to re-post online and are providing commentary about the music and history of the services. Look for the re-posted recordings of services Sundays at 4:00 p.m. through May.
This afternoon’s setting of the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis come from the Evening Service in G by Herbert Sumsion. Born in Gloucestershire Sumsion grew up as a chorister at Gloucester Cathedral and later succeeded his teacher, Herbert Brewer as Director of Music and Organist in 1928. From that time he presided over the famous annual “Three Choirs Festival” which to this day triumphs a week of musical festivities offered by the combined choirs of Hereford, Worcester, and Gloucester cathedrals. Sumsion’s Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis in G for SATB choir constitutes one of his most beloved compositions and exemplifies the grace and elegance for which his music remains known.
Thou, O God, Art Praised in Sion is among the most celebrated anthems of English choral music. The composer Malcolm Boyle was born in Windsor, England, and at the young age of 17 was appointed organist and choirmaster at Holy Trinity Garrison Church. Boyle’s robust anthem opens with a magnificent, virtuosic organ part that later alternates with and joins the choir, powerfully praising God’s sovereignty through the text of Psalm 65. Of particular note is the beautiful lyrical section for upper voices, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace,” musically linking Sumsion and Boyle as composers of great refinement and grace.
Music in the service:
- King’s Chapel Prayer by Jared Johnson
- Preces and Responses by Richard Ayleward
- Psalms 111, 113
- Service in G by Herbert Sumsion
- Thou, O God, art praised in Sion by Malcolm Boyle
- Hymn: Father all loving, who rulest in majesty