16 February 2012

Listening to Choral Evensong

A copy of the Icon of Christ in Saint Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai (Ιερά Μονή Θεοβαδίστου Όρους Σινά, Αγίας Αικατερίνης), hangs in the chapel of the Church of Ireland Theological Institute

Patrick Comerford

At Choral Evensong in the Chapel this evening [16 February 2012], the readings were: Psalm: 50: 1-6; I Kings 11: 26-40; and II Corinthians 2: 12-17.

For the canticles, we read a Song of the Light and listened to both Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis to settings by Herbert Howells in The Gloucester Service, from a recording of Choral Evensong sung by the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge.

The composer Herbert Howells (1892-1983) gave the service this name because he was born in Gloucester, and studied the organ as an articled pupil to Sir Herbert Brewer at Gloucester Cathedral.

From 1941 until the end of World War II, Howells deputised for the organist at Saint John’s College, Cambridge, but his Collegium Regale Service was written for King’s College and its choir in 1945.

His works for cathedral and college choirs evoke glorious echoes of Anglican musical treasures from Tudor times while employing beguiling chromatic harmonies and Romantic outbursts of expression.

Choral Evensong is held six afternoons a week during term time in chapel of King’s College. The recording we listened to this evening was made in the chapel during Choral Evensong in July 1991, with the Choir conducted by Stephen Cleobury and Christopher Hughes, organ scholar, playing the organ.

King’s College, Cambridge, the chapel, and the Backs (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

The Collect of the Day (the Second Sunday before Lent):

Almighty God,
you have created the heavens and the earth
and made us in your own image:
Teach us to discern your hand in all your works
and your likeness in all your children;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who with you and the Holy Spirit
reigns supreme over all things, now and for ever. Amen.

Canon Patrick Comerford is Lecturer in Anglicansim and Liturgy, the Church of Ireland Theological Institute

No comments: