One of the pleasures of singing and playing in the London Gallery Quire is being allowed to spring my music on them from time to time. A greater joy is the privilege of performing, from time to time, the work of our musical director, Dr Francis Roads.
I like his work enough that I asked him to write a piece for my wedding; he did, and “Set me as a seal” was just the right thing for the context, making good use of the combination of the St Andrew’s choir and the London Gallery Quire singing together. It’s not every day one receives such a wedding gift.
My favourite piece of his so far, though, might be his setting of Psalm 46, verses 8-10:
“O come hither, and behold the works of the Lord : what destruction he hath brought upon the earth.
He maketh wars to cease in all the world : he breaketh the bow, and knappeth the spear in sunder, and burneth the chariots in the fire.
Be still then, and know that I am God.”
This is dedicated “to the immortal memory of William Knapp”, that composer of the fine hymn tune known as Wareham, as well as many good West Gallery anthems. In the sheet music the word “knappeth” is capitalised, “Knappeth”. I rather like the implication that the music of Knapp and other church musicians is one way that God ends violence, though that’s probably me reading too much into the pun.
You can listen to the music here if you have the Sibelius Scorch plug-in, or download a Sibelius file here which I believe plays in some sort of eye pad app, but really the robots don’t do it justice. The best way to hear it is to come to our concerts! The first concert is at St. George’s German Lutheran Church, 55 Alie Street, London E1 8EB, on Wednesday 18th June at 7pm. Tickets are £5 and doors open 6.30pm.
If you miss that one, or like it so much you want another, the next is at St Peter-in-the-Forest, Woodford New Road, Walthamstow, E17 3PP,
on Saturday 28th June 2014 at 7pm.
Perhaps that will inspire you to download the sheet music and suggest it to a good SATB church choir; or indeed to join us in London Gallery Quire and have the pleasure of singing more of the same.