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Philip

Your Ideal Evensong!

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On 20/08/2009 at 12:14, Philip said:

We have to face the fact that Evensong isn't as popular as it once was, and focus nowadays is very much on the morning Eucharist. But a good Evensong done well (whether Choral or not) still inspires me and I think it would be a shame to drop it completely.

With apologies for reviving a 10-year old thread... I thought it might be interesting to revive this in light of recent news stories.

The BBC ran a TV report on Sunday discussing the increasing popularity of Choral Evensong. Attendance at "midweek services" - which is basically evensong - is apparently up 34% in the ten years since this thread was posted. Certainly in our village (well, officially a tiny town) church, the Choral Evensong which we've started doing every few months has rapidly become the second most popular service after the regular morning communion. And we're by no means the only church locally: you can piece together a very nice weekly calendar with all the nearby benefices that run occasional or monthly evensongs.

So where do we go from here? How do we cement this? Are there any resources for the amateur organist and choir to help them start, develop and grow their evensongs? I'd be interested to know what people think.

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Well this was fun, and interesting reading everyone else's responses.

Opening Voluntary
Voluntary in A - Blow

Introit
O sing unto the Lord - Purcell

Responses
Those ones by Matthew Martin I heard recently

Office Hymn
Any sung in plainsong by the choir, as is done at Ely

Psalm
Anything, sung properly and not rattled through.

Canticles
Service for Trebles - Weelkes

1 or 2 Anthems
Two anthems? An offer I can’t refuse:
See, see the Word is incarnate - Gibbons
Vox Patris Caelestis - Mundy

Two Further Hymns
there's no time left :)

Concluding Voluntary
Voluntary in A minor - Tomkins

It got me thinking what music one could choose for the longest and shortest possible evensongs.  I suppose the expectation of a 45 minute weekday service has constrained choice in recent times at least.

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Well really it would depend on the liturgical date/season, but for a generic service how about:

Prelude: Improvisation or Howells Siciliano for a High Ceremony

Introit: We wait for thy loving kindness - McKie

Responses: Rose

Psalm 91 (Bairstow in E flat)

Canticles: Howells St Paul

Anthem: For lo, I raise up - Stanford

Voluntary: Carillon-Sortie - Mulet

 

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I know I’m also several years late, however - 

Generic Sunday evensong

 - introit: The Call (Richard Lloyd)

- responses: Radcliffe

- psalms: 47, 48, 49 (Davy, Garrett, Walmisley)

- canticles: St Paul’s Service (Howells)

- anthem: Lord thou hast been our refuge (Bairstow)

- hymn: Christ triumphant (Guiting Power)

- voluntary: Paean (Howells)

And also a (very large scale) Easter Day Festal Evensong

 - introit: Rise, heart (Vaughan Williams)

- responses: Rose

- psalms: 113, 114, 118 (Crotch, Bairstow, Lloyd, Garrett)

- canticles: Rubbra in A flat

- anthem: Lo, the full final sacrifice (Finzi)

- hymn: Jesus Christ is risen today (Easter Hymn)

Coronation Te Deum (Walton)

- voluntary: Toccata from Suite op. 5 (Durufle)

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I had forgotten all about this thread and spent a few minutes cobbling up my list only to find that my choices were virtually identical to my second option that I had posted previously. I've become a bit tired of the Sheppard (glorious though it is), so now I would probably substitute Robert Parsons's Domine quis habitabit, a wonderful, but virtually unknown motet which is really just one long build-up from beginning to end. For the hymn I might possibly opt for "How shall I sing that majesty" to Coe Fen.  But where do you stop with something like this? There  are just so many favourite Evensongs one could compile!

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