Apologies to those of you who have come to this page expecting news of the next Choral Evensong. But read on …
The next choral evening service will be a Choral Eucharist for All Souls with commemoration of the departed on Sunday 6th November at 6.30 pm. The Church of England has no prescribed ‘Requiem’ service, and therefore there is not much choice of music. For the past few years we have sung the beautiful Short Requiem by Henry Walford Davies, and this year Kathy Goodchild has written some music for us.
The Introit sets words from Psalms 139 and 119:
If I take the wings of the morning
and fly to the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there Thy right hand shall guide me,
And Thy right hand uphold me.
If I say, ‘surely the darkness shall cover me’
Even the night shall be light around me.
The darkness is no darkness with Thee,
But the light shineth as the day.
The darkness and the light to Thee are both alike.
But Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.
The Gradual sets words from Psalm 91 followed by the traditional Latin Requiem Eternam:
Whoso dwelleth under the defence of the most high
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
Requiem eternam Dona eis requiem.
Et lux perpetua, luceat eis.
[Grant them eternal rest, and light perpetual shine upon them.]
After the reading of the names of the departed, the choir will sing words from the Book of Revelation:
I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me,
‘Write: from henceforth blessed are the dead which die in the Lord.
Even so saith the spirit. For they rest from their labours
The music for All Souls finishes with a piece for choir and congregation which will be sung at the end of the service, setting a metrical version of Psalm 23:
The Lord’s my shepherd I’ll not want, He makes me down to lie
In pastures green He leadeth me the quiet waters by.
My soul he doth restore again and me to walk doth make
Within the paths of blessedness e’en for his own name’s sake.
Yea though I walk through shadowed vale yet will I fear no ill,
For thou art with me and Thy rod and staff me comfort still.
My table thou hast furnished in presence of my foes
My head with oil Thou dost anoint, and my cup overflows.
Goodness and mercy all my days shall surely follow me,
And in my Father’s house always my dwelling place shall be.
(‘And in My house for evermore Thy dwelling place shall be’) Amen.
To finish, Jonathan will be playing Bach’s Fugue in Eb BWV 552, the last movement of the monumental Clavierübung Part III and often played at memorial services. The beginning is very similar to the hymn ‘O God our help in ages past’, and therefore in Britain has been nicknamed the ‘St Anne Fugue’ after the hymn’s tune. The nineteenth-century composer Samuel Wesley played it and said it was received by people with the same wonder as when they saw an air balloon rise for the first time!
The service is always very moving; we very much hope you will come and remember your loved ones departed this life.