23 March 2014

‘I was glad when they said unto me:
We will go into the house of the Lord’

Some Greek prints and record sleeves on the walls of Corfu in Parliament Street, Dubin (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2014)

Patrick Comerford

There was bright sunshine in Dublin this morning as I was going into Christ Church Cathedral for the Cathedral Eucharist.

The canon in residence this morning was Canon Robert Deane of Swords and Donabate, who was being installed later in the afternoon as the new Canon Treasurer.

After dinner last night in Alladin’s Café in Leeson Street, the Mediterranean theme continued this afternoon with lunch in Corfu, the Greek restaurant in Parliament Street with another cathedral colleague.

‘Peace be within thy walls’ … a door front in Temple Bar this afternoon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2014)

There was little time to stroll around the book stalls in Temple Bar, before returning to the cathedral for Choral Evensong for the installation of Canon Deane as Canon Treasurer and Canon David Gillespie of Saint Ann’s as the 12th Canon.

The combined choirs of Christ Church and Saint Ann’s sang Evensong this evening, with a moving rendition of Hubert Parry’s anthem, “I was glad,” a well-loved Anglican anthem often associated in England with coronations.

Parry wrote the setting in 1902 using the text of Psalm 122 in the Psalter of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer:

I was glad when they said unto me:
We will go into the house of the Lord.
Our feet shall stand in thy gates:
O Jerusalem.
Jerusalem is built as a city:
that is at unity in itself.
For thither the tribes go up, even the tribes of the Lord:
to testify unto Israel, to give thanks unto the Name of the Lord.
For there is the seat of judgement:
even the seat of the house of David.
O pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
they shall prosper that love thee.
Peace be within thy walls:
and plenteousness within thy palaces.
For my brethren and companions’ sakes:
I will wish thee prosperity.
Yea, because of the house of the Lord our God:
I will seek to do thee good.

Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry (1848-1918) is best known for his settings for ‘I was glad’ and for William Blake’s ‘Jerusalem,’ and for his hymn tune ‘Repton’ used for the hymn ‘Dear Lord and Father of Mankind.’

His orchestral works include five symphonies and a set of Symphonic Variations.

He was a professor of composition and musical history at the Royal College of Music and Professor of Music at the University of Oxford (1900-1908).

His contemporary, Charles Villiers Stanford, counted him as the finest English composer since Henry Purcell. Edward Elgar learned much of his craft from Parry’s articles in Grove’s Dictionary, and Parry’s students at the Royal College included Ralph Vaughan Williams, Gustav Holst, Frank Bridge and John Ireland.

The Mediterranean theme continued this evening with dinner in Beirut Express, the Lebanese restaurant in Dame Street, beside the Olympia Theatre and close to Dublin Castle and Christ Church Cathedral.

Corfu, Jerusalem and Beirut in one day … “O pray for the peace of Jerusalem.”

‘Yea, because of the house of the Lord our God: / I will seek to do thee good’ … a quiet moment in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, after this afternoon’s chapter installations (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2014)

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