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Unusual evensongs

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Dear all,

 

I have just been asked whether any of our chapels and cathedrals have different traditions for Matins and Evensong - and I half remember being told that certain colleges leave out canticles etc, but can't for the life of me remember whether this is true, or which ones if it is.

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Dear all,

 

I have just been asked whether any of our chapels and cathedrals have different traditions for Matins and Evensong - and I half remember being told that certain colleges leave out canticles etc, but can't for the life of me remember whether this is true, or which ones if it is.

 

Magdalen College Oxford does its own take on "Choral Evening Prayer" at 6pm on Tuesdays and Fridays, the Order of Service being:

 

Preces

Psalm

Gospel Canticle (or similar)

Magnificat &/or Nunc Dimittis

Anthem

 

However, I'm remembering a service I attended years ago in Bill Ives' time; things could well have changed somewhat under Daniel Hyde.

 

I believe Sheffield Cathedral did an experiment during Lent 2009 with Sunday Evensong, re-ordering it along the lines suggested by Common Worship, with a Gospel Canticle or Anthem but no Magnificat amongst other significant changes. Apparently it was well received and the Powers-that-Be there were keen to try again in 2010, although I don't know if they did so in the end...!

 

When it comes to Matins, those few places maintaining it as a principal Sunday service on a regular or semi-regular basis have various different approaches, most of them depending upon the degree of congregational participation required. When I worked at Bath Abbey, there was no Venite - sung, chanted or said - and most Sundays the Te Deum was choral but the Jubilate was chanted so that all could join in. However, every so often the Jubilate would be sung to a choral setting, in which case the anthem was replaced by a hymn. (Must to the DoM's chagrin, the Responses were sung by all - Ferial - and the psalm was often joined in with by the congregation, such that all the hard work polishing it on the preceding Friday practice counted largely for nothing.) On the other hand, St Mary's Warwick (which has Choral Matins on the 1st Sunday of each month) includes all three canticles, with the Venite usually chanted; places such as Westminster Abbey and St Paul's Cathedral often use choral settings of the Venite in addition to choral settings of Te Deum and Jubilate.

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St. Philip's Cathedral in Birmingham seem to do a 'Shortened Choral Evensong', largely on a Tuesday and Wednesday during the week, that seems to include:

 

Preces

Psalm

Office Hymn

Magnificat or the Nunc Dimittis

Anthem

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The interesting thing is that a Choral Evensong can include all the essential bits and still be over in half an hour. Recently, I went to one of the Thursday Evensongs at Hexham Abbey (which is sung by the Girls' Choir) and in exactly 30 minutes they got through:

 

Preces (Morley)

Psalm - 139 vv. 1-10 & 23-24 plus Gloria (Plainchant)

1st Lesson

Magnificat (Philip Moore)

2nd Lesson

Nunc Dimittis (Philip Moore)

Creed

Responses (Morley)

Anthem - Take my life (Wilson)

Intercessions (I think there were just three of these, followed by the Grace)

Final Responses (Naylor)

Organ Voluntary - Aria from Suite Modale (Peeters)

 

A most refreshing experience, particularly as it was sung to such a high standard. (Michael Haynes, who has just left Hexham to do a P/G course in Music at Newcastle University, has built things up extremely well over the past 11 years; with the highly-experienced Marcus Wibberley poised to take over, Hexham should hopefully remain a place to treasure for its music for some time to come!)

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