Preces, Lord’s Prayer and Responses
for SATB a cappella with divisionsforces: SATB Choir
duration: Ca 10'30"
published by: Shorter House
The anthologised score of the Responses was published as a stand-alone item in July 2019 by Shorter House, and may be ordered here:
A liturgical performance was broadcast by BBC Radio Three in August 1994 from the Edington Festival of Church Music and the Liturgy. The Festival’s Consort Choir was conducted by Andrew Carwood and the precentor was Brother Reginald, a Franciscan friar who died at a great age in February 2019. A metal cassette recording of this by the composer may be heard here:
These Preces and Responses were intended to feel and sound like a kind of aural ‘palimpsest’ harbouring intermittent benign ghosts of the many sixteenth-century settings known and loved by collegiate and cathedral choirs and congregations. I aimed also to reflect the nature and atmosphere of a weekday evensong in winter, with darkness outside, the quiet acceptance of the Nunc Dimittis text pervading the whole experience and the day’s end encouraging reflection upon what is so evocatively captured in metaphorical form by Cardinal Newman in his celebrated collect: ‘…the shadows lengthen and the evening comes, the busy world is hushed, the fever of life is over and our work is done’. The first thing to be written was the Lord’s Prayer setting, which was composed some years earlier than the rest, under almost impossibly unpromising circumstances and in an overcrowded coach, trapped in a traffic jam on the M3 motorway. This (in particular the cadential approach to its conclusion) informs the mood and vocabulary of a few of the ensuing Responses. In particular, my intention was to avoid completely the kind of harmonic and gestural gimmickry which seems to me to pervade a good many modern psalm chants and settings of the Responses
Publication date: March 2011
The Book of New Responses contains twelve sets and provides short biographies of each composer. The finest sets are by Antony Baldwin, Philip Moore, Ben Parry, Francis Pott and Paul Spicer. They combine fertile musical imagination with good craftsmanship, making them singable (though not always easy) and interesting.
Christopher Maxim, The Organ, Autumn 2010
The Responses are contributed by contemporary composers, some of whom are well-established (Francis Pott, Philip Moore and Andrew Gant). These vary in texture too and are helpfully divided according to style: first are the sets in more modern (sometimes non-tonal) harmony, which doesn’t necessarily mean more difficult; there’s one pentatonic set, and finally are a handful in a more traditional, harmonic style, which doesn’t mean dull, so this book should be a able to provide something that can be used alongside virtually all aspects of the Anglican choral repertoire and is therefore invaluable.