5:30pm, Sunday 7 May 2017
St Bride’s Church, EC4Y 8AU

Music by Matthew Martin, Phillip Cooke, and Bob Chilcott

The anthem by Bob Chilcott was commissioned by St Bride’s Church for a service in 2007 to mark the 50th anniversary of the post-war re-dedication.

The composers featured in this Choral Evensong from St Bride’s have many links with St Bride’s and its choir. Matthew Martin has had a number of pieces performed here, including the Christmas anthem Novo profusi gaudio and The Fragile Eye, a setting of a poem by Ben Kaye which was commissioned by the John Armitage Memorial (JAM) for Fleet Street Carols in 2012. Matthew’s Preces and Responses, written for the choir of Merton College, Oxford, are in regular use at St Bride’s.

Phillip Cooke is a Lecturer in composition at the University of Aberdeen, and his work has featured in this festival in previous years. Sacred music forms an important part of his output, and his compositions have won prizes in Europe and the USA. This Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis were written for the Choir of Selwyn College, Cambridge, who have recorded a disc devoted to his music.

Bob Chilcott began his career as a singer, both as a treble on Sir David Willcocks’s recording of Faure’s Requiem and later as a tenor with The Kings Singers, but was always interested in composition and arrangement and has become one of our most prolific and well-loved choral composers. His Shepherd’s Carol and his arrangement of Gaudete are frequently performed at carol services in St Bride’s. Tonight’s anthem, Beauty for Ashes, was commissioned for a service attended by Her Majesty the Queen in 2007, marking the 50th anniversary of the church’s post-war re-dedication. The text is taken from Isaiah 61, verses 3 and 4, and the piece makes full use of the 12 voices of the choir, particularly in the opening and closing passages, where each of the 4 sopranos sings an independent part.

The service concludes with an organ piece by John Hosking, assistant organist of St Asaph Cathedral, whose music has also been recorded by the Choir of Selwyn College, Cambridge. The psalm chant is by Martin How, who is still active as a composer at the age of over 80 - he worked for the Royal School of Church Music for most of his career and directed their Southern Cathedral Singers for many years. His former choristers include three members of the music staff and choir at St Bride’s: Robert Jones, Matthew Morley, and Dan Ludford-Thomas.