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CHORALES & PRELUDES
Choral Scholars of St Martin-in-the-Fields

 

 

 
1. Bowerman, David [5:33]
Little Cornard - organ

2. Ouseley, Sir Frederick A.G [3:45]
Contemplation - When all thy mercies O God

3. Bourgeois, Loys [3:26]
The Old 100th - All People that on Earth do Dwell

4. Bowerman, David [2:06]
Sicilian Mariners - organ

5. Hopkins, Edward J. [4:20]
Ellers - Saviour Again To Thy Dear Name We Raise

6. Kichengesange, Geistliche [3:33]
Franciscan Fantasie - All Creatures of our God and King

7. Bowerman, David [3:10]
The Old 100th - organ

8. Shaw, Martin F. [2:24]
Little Cornard - Hills of the North Rejoice

9. Bowerman, David [2:20]
London New - organ

10. Harris, Rev. Charles [6:23]
The Supreme Sacrifice - O Valiant Hearts

11. Traditional [2:07]
Sicilian Mariners - Come O Fount of every Blessing

12. Bowerman, David [8:06]
Franciscan Fantasie - organ

13. Jones, Griffith Hugh [5:32]
Llef - When I survey the wondrous cross

14. Psalms [1:42]
London New - God moves in a mysterious way

15. Greatorex, Walter [2:13]
Woodlands - Tell Out My Soul

16. Bowerman, David [5:54]
Woodlands - organ

Artist(s):
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Composer David Bowerman has written a number of works for organ (not least the ones on CHRCD005) and was delighted when Director of Music for the Church of St Martin-in-the-Fields, London, Dr Andrew Earis suggested he write a collection of organ improvisations and chorale preludes for this disc.

Set alongside the new works are those hymn tunes that inspired them. Some of the finest and most enduring hymns feature here, from the powerful Old 100th (famously sung to the words ‘All People that on Earth Do Dwell’) to the triumphant Woodlands (‘Tell Out My Soul’).

Two of the chorale re-workings feature the former Head Chorister of Westminster Abbey, and rising star of the opera scene, baritone David Stout.

These well-known hymns are interspersed with David Bowerman’s delightful and imaginative solo organ ‘takes’ on the melodies - in the style of the traditional organ extemporization.

The breadth and quality of musical activity at the Church of St Martin-in-the-Fields is astonishing. Located on the corner of London’s Trafalgar Square, the church is home to the remarkable chamber orchestra - The Academy of St Martin in the Fields - and the venue for a wide range of recitals and concerts to full audiences.


The Choral Scholars of St Martin-in-the-Fields are hand picked from the wonderful church choir, and receive an extensive training in the various aspects of church and choral music.


 

 


For some of us, the best-known hymn tunes are so much part of our mental furniture that it is difficult not to take them for granted, almost as phenomena of nature, things that have ‘always been there’. It’s hard to remember they were composed, that their composers had identities, that the tunes and the words they are set to have each a particular history, sometimes a fascinating one. Part of this archetypal appeal of the tunes stems, of course, from their sheer quality and individuality as melody, the strength and instant recognizability which has also made them ideal material as the basis of instrumental fantasies and improvisations, as this varied programme of hymns and free organ treatments of their tunes graphically demonstrates.

Little Cornard takes its name from a village in Suffolk, situated on the road between Colchester and Sudbury. It was there that the composer and conductor Martin Shaw (1875–1958) spent his honeymoon. Shaw was highly influential in the world of theatre and education, reviving the stage works of Purcell as well as serving as the organist of several London churches and writing and editing much church music. He published Little Cornard in 1915, associating it with the visionary hymn ‘Hills of the North, Rejoice’, which had been written in the mid-19th century by the lawyer and clergyman Charles Oakley as an Advent message of the coming of Christ to all four corners of the world. Its message of universal peace found a particular resonance during the period of the First World War, especially when combined with Shaw’s martial tune.

The hymn-tune Contemplation issued from the pen of one of the most fascinating personalities in 19th-century English church music, Sir Frederick Arthur Gore Ouseley (1825–1889). Son of the British Ambassador to Persia and Russia, and god-child of the Duke of Wellington and Frederick, Duke of York, as a child his musical gifts were already so pronounced that he was regularly compared to Mozart, and he is credited with having composed an opera at the age of eight. But

Total playing time: 62’44

as with many Victorian musicians, the talents of a brilliant youth led, not to mature creative genius but to a distinguished academic career. Ouseley became Professor of Music at Oxford and also founded and became first warden of St Michael’s College, Tenbury, where he developed his ideas on the music appropriate for the cathedral service, which later became standard in the Church of England. A respected teacher, perhaps his most famous pupil was John Stainer. Most of Ouseley’s mature music was for the church, and Contemplation is generally associated with the hymn ‘When all thy mercies, O God’, written by the great playwright, poet and essayist Joseph Addison, founder of the Spectator magazine.

One of the most famous tunes in the entire Christian church-music repertoire, The Old 100th is a tune in Long Metre generally attributed to the French composer Loys Bourgeois (1510?–1560?) that made its first appearance associated with the text of Psalm 134 in Pseaumes Octante Trois de David (1551), which was the second edition of the Genevan Psalter. This famous Psalter was compiled in Geneva, Switzerland, a centre of Protestant activity during the Reformation, in response to John Calvin’s teaching that communal singing of psalms in the vernacular language (in this case French) was one of the most important aspects of church life (in contrast to the prevailing Catholic practice of sacred texts being chanted in Latin by the clergy only. Calvinist musicians such as Bourgeois supplied many new melodies, and adapted others from sources both sacred and secular. The tune has become known as ‘the Old Hundredth’ because it later became associated with Psalm 100 in a paraphrase entitled ‘All People that on Earth do Dwell’ by the Scottish divine William Kethe (or Keith), who was in exile in Geneva at the time of the compilation of the Psalter.

The origins of the tune Sicilian Mariners remain somewhat mysterious. According to legend it was first collected in 1788 or 89 by Johann Gottfried Herder, the great German poet, folklorist and philosopher of national identity, during a journey in

Southern Europe, though in fact he did not publish it until 1807. Meanwhile it had appeared in the European Magazine and London Review of 1792, and was first used as a hymn tune was in the Improved Psalmody of 1794 by William Tattersall. The tune was generally supposed to be an Italian or Sicilian folksong, and in some sources appears under the title ‘Sicilian Mariner’s Prayer’, though it has been speculated that it may in fact be an air from a Neapolitan opera of the late 18th century. In the Roman Catholic church it has come to be associated with O Sanctissima, a Latin hymn to the Blessed Virgin Mary. In England it has been used as a carol and, from 1798, with the hymn ‘Lord, Dismiss Us With Thy Blessing’, believed to have been written by the Yorkshireman John Fawcett, who was orphaned at the age of 12 and apprenticed at 13 to a tailor in Bradford. He joined the Baptist Church and eventually became a Baptist minister in 1766.

The tune Ellers was composed by Edward J. Hopkins (1818–1901), who was one of the founders of the Royal College of Organists and began his career as a chorister at the Chapel Royal and St Paul’s Cathedral before becoming organist at Mitcham Church. From 1843 he was organist and choirmaster at London’s Temple Church, only retiring in 1898. He published a standard history of the organ and served as music editor for various hymnals produced in England, Scotland, and Canada. Ellers was first published as a unison melody with organ accompaniment in 1869 in Brown-Borthwick’s The Supplemental Hymn and Tune Book. Hopkins subsequently, in 1872, published the version in 4-part harmony as an Appendix to the Bradford Tune Book (1872). The name of the tune evidently derives from the hymn-writer John Ellerton (1826–1893), the author of ‘Saviour, again to thy dear name we raise’, with which it has always been associated. Ellerton wrote this in 1866 as a concluding hymn for the festival of the Malpas, Middlewich, and Nantwich Choral Association, and in 1868 it was included in Hymns Ancient and Modern.

Franciscan Fantasie is a setting of an English paraphrase, by William H Draper (1855–1933), of the famous poem in Umbrian dialect written in 1224 by St Francis

of Assisi, the Laudes Creaturarum (also known as The Canticle of the Sun). Draper made his version for use at a children’s Whitsuntide festival in Leeds and it was first printed in the 1919 Public School Hymn Book. Draper set the words to the 17th-century German hymn tune ‘Lasst Uns Erfreuen’, first published in the Jesuit hymnal Ausserlesene Catlwlische Geistliche Kirchengesänge (Cologne, 1623), which had recently become well known through the new harmonization by Ralph Vaughan Williams published in The English Hymnal in 1906.

The anonymous tune known as London New is probably Scottish in origin: it was first printed in a metrical edition of the Psalms published in Edinburgh in 1635 (The Psalmes of David in Prose and Meeter). It is often associated with the hymn ‘God moves in a mysterious way’ by the poet William Cowper, said to be the last hymn that Cowper wrote, shortly before his death.

The Supreme Sacrifice is a hymn tune composed by the Rev. Charles Harris (1865–1936) to go with the poem ‘O Valiant Hearts’, written by the Conservative politician John Stanhope Arkwright, sometime MP for Hereford, to honour the fallen soldiers of World War I. This was one poem in a collection of verse by Arkwright entitled The Supreme Sacrifice, and Other Poems in Time of War, published in 1919. Harris wrote his tune in the same year, and it is claimed that the hymn was performed at the burial service of the Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey on 11 November 1920, though there is some doubt about this. When Songs of Praise was published in 1925 the editors, perhaps disapproving of the Victorian accents of Harris’s tune, rejected it and substituted two alternatives, one by Holst and the other by Vaughan Williams – but neither managed to rival the popularity of Harris’s melody, which was printed with the words in The Baptist Hymnal in 1933. It is traditionally sung at Remembrance Day ceremonies, even today.

Llef is the Welsh word for ‘a cry’. This tune was composed by the schoolteacher and musician Griffith Hugh Jones (Gutyn Arfon, 1849–1919), who as well as

being active in church music conducted a band, arranged operettas for children, and was in demand as an adjudicator at singing festivals. He wrote Llef in memory of his brother Dewi Arfon, and also published a posthumous collection of his brother’s poems. The tune has become associated with the Welsh hymn of the same name written by the influential Methodist minister Thomas Charles (1755–1814).

The tune Woodlands was composed in 1916 by Walter Greatorex (1877–1949) and first published in 1919 in the Public School Hymn Book. Greatorex’s musical career began as a chorister at King’s College, Cambridge; subsequently he was a music master at Uppingham School in Rutland and at Gresham’s School in Holt, Norfolk, where his pupils included Benjamin Britten, Lennox Berkeley and W.H. Auden. The title ‘Woodlands’ refers to one of the school houses at Gresham’s. The tune has been associated both with Montagu Butler’s hymn ‘Lift Up Your Hearts!’ and, as in this recital, with ‘Tell Out, My Soul’, a paraphrase of the Magnificat written by Timothy Dudley-Smith (b. 1926), vice-president of the Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland, who was Bishop of Thetford from 1981 to 1991.

Malcolm MacDonald 



   
   

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