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The Anglican Choral Revival


Vox Humana

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I've never really "done" the nineteenth century, so this is a subject I know very little about, but it's one in which I have recently become quite interested and I'm hoping that there are one or two of you here who actually know about this period and can save me some work by filling me in a little. I guess the essential reading for this topic is Bernarr Rainbow's The Choral Revival in the Anglican Church and Nicholas Temperley's The Music of the English Parish Church. I have yet to get around to these, though I know that portions of Rainbow's book are available on Google books.

 

Our cathedrals have always had music. They have ploughed their own furrow and I am not concerned with them. What particularly interests me is the ordinary parish church and its support for choral music.

 

The received history of the Anglican Choral Revival makes much of the Oxford Movement, F.A.G. Ouseley and St Michael's College Tenbury* and puts its start in the second quarter of the nineteenth century. However, it started slowly and it all took time to catch on and this is where I am focusing. My interest was aroused while trawling through my local newspapers of the 1870s and '80s in search of needles in haystacks. What struck me particularly was the number of accounts dealing with the reopening of churches in Devon and Cornwall after extensive internal alterations (often involving new organs) - the reason, I assume, being because priest-centered preaching in the puritan tradition in the body of the churches was being superseded by a wish for dignified ceremonial in the chancels. Choirs were a desirable part of this ceremonial and the music at these re-opening ceremonies, which is usually noted, more often than not included choral items. I've not looked extensively yet at the '60s or '90s and for all I know they may present a similar picture, but the '70s and '80s were undoubtedly a time when "it was all happening".

 

St Andrew's, Plymouth, was inevitably caught up in this. Its re-odering took place in 1875, when, amongst a lot of other things, the west gallery was taken down. The organ was moved to a chapel in the west transept and the choir presumably to the chancel. The church has always rather fancied itself as a cathedral and in 1883 it made its position plain in its parish magazine:

 

The Church Choir has lately been considerably augmented, and with the return of Mr. Clark, the Organist and Choirmaster, we believe that still further enlargement is contemplated, and we trust at the same time that some steps may be taken to place the Choir of St Andrew's in its proper position at the head of all the church choirs in the locality. Our church is looked upon as the Cathedral of Plymouth, and why should we not have a highly efficient Choir and a thoroughly Choral Service? [...] We feel sure that the bulk of the congregation would welcome a change which would enable them to hear such services and anthems as are heard Sunday after Sunday in the Cathedral Church at Exeter, and we cannot understand why it should be considered out of place to copy in our large parish churches the style and order of our cathedrals. We venture to open this question here in the hope that some members of the congregation may be led to express their views upon this and other points, and to induce the Vicar and Churchwardens to give more attention to this highly attractive part of our delightful service. The days of objecting to surpliced choirs have passed away, many other things that a past generation thought ritualistic and of a Romish tendency, are now, not only tolerated, but approved; why then should the highest and best form of worship not also be introduced, and thus, the Mother Church of St. Andrew's set the fashion to her numerous offspring in this as well as in all other matters.

 

 

In 1937 the IAO held its annual congress in Plymouth and a leaflet for "Congress Sunday" was published containing the music lists of some of the local churches (presumably those where members of the local organists' association presided). No less than 18 churches mounted a choral item of some sort. In some it was just an anthem, but seven of them sung choral settings of the canticles (or the Eucharist) at both the morning and evening services, often with an anthem as well. I am told by one who is old enough to remember this that the war was a watershed. Many choirs then became depleted, some churches were blitzed and the scene never really recovered. My own experience elsewhere in the country suggests that the parish church choral tradition held up reasonably well until the 1950s, but that a sharp decline set in during the 1960s. Notwithstanding some excellent churches that still maintain good choral standards today, for the vast majority of the Anglican Communion such services are now a thing of the past. All of which suggests to me that the heyday of classical choral music in the parish church was a merely transient blip lasting... what?... 80 years?

 

* Incidentally I see from the NPOR page for St Michael's, Tenbury, that the organ is currently having its pneumatic actions renovated. Good to see it being looked after.

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I've never really "done" the nineteenth century, so this is a subject I know very little about, but it's one in which I have recently become quite interested and I'm hoping that there are one or two of you here who actually know about this period and can save me some work by filling me in a little. I guess the essential reading for this topic is Bernarr Rainbow's The Choral Revival in the Anglican Church and Nicholas Temperley's The Music of the English Parish Church. I have yet to get around to these, though I know that portions of Rainbow's book are available on Google books.

 

Our cathedrals have always had music. They have ploughed their own furrow and I am not concerned with them. What particularly interests me is the ordinary parish church and its support for choral music.

The received history of the Anglican Choral Revival makes much of the Oxford Movement, F.A.G. Ouseley and St Michael's College Tenbury* and puts its start in the second quarter of the nineteenth century. However, it started slowly and it all took time to catch on and this is where I am focusing. My interest was aroused while trawling through my local newspapers of the 1870s and '80s in search of needles in haystacks. What struck me particularly was the number of accounts dealing with the reopening of churches in Devon and Cornwall after extensive internal alterations (often involving new organs) - the reason, I assume, being because priest-centered preaching in the puritan tradition in the body of the churches was being superseded by a wish for dignified ceremonial in the chancels. Choirs were a desirable part of this ceremonial and the music at these re-opening ceremonies, which is usually noted, more often than not included choral items. I've not looked extensively yet at the '60s or '90s and for all I know they may present a similar picture, but the '70s and '80s were undoubtedly a time when "it was all happening".

 

St Andrew's, Plymouth, was inevitably caught up in this. Its re-odering took place in 1875, when, amongst a lot of other things, the west gallery was taken down. The organ was moved to a chapel in the west transept and the choir presumably to the chancel. The church has always rather fancied itself as a cathedral and in 1883 it made its position plain in its parish magazine:

 

The Church Choir has lately been considerably augmented, and with the return of Mr. Clark, the Organist and Choirmaster, we believe that still further enlargement is contemplated, and we trust at the same time that some steps may be taken to place the Choir of St Andrew's in its proper position – at the head of all the church choirs in the locality. Our church is looked upon as the Cathedral of Plymouth, and why should we not have a highly efficient Choir and a thoroughly Choral Service? [...] We feel sure that the bulk of the congregation would welcome a change which would enable them to hear such services and anthems as are heard Sunday after Sunday in the Cathedral Church at Exeter, and we cannot understand why it should be considered out of place to copy in our large parish churches the style and order of our cathedrals. We venture to open this question here in the hope that some members of the congregation may be led to express their views upon this and other points, and to induce the Vicar and Churchwardens to give more attention to this highly attractive part of our delightful service. The days of objecting to surpliced choirs have passed away, many other things that a past generation thought ritualistic and of a Romish tendency, are now, not only tolerated, but approved; why then should the highest and best form of worship not also be introduced, and thus, the Mother Church of St. Andrew's set the fashion to her numerous offspring in this as well as in all other matters.

 

In 1937 the IAO held its annual congress in Plymouth and a leaflet for "Congress Sunday" was published containing the music lists of some of the local churches (presumably those where members of the local organists' association presided). No less than 18 churches mounted a choral item of some sort. In some it was just an anthem, but seven of them sung choral settings of the canticles (or the Eucharist) at both the morning and evening services, often with an anthem as well. I am told by one who is old enough to remember this that the war was a watershed. Many choirs then became depleted, some churches were blitzed and the scene never really recovered. My own experience elsewhere in the country suggests that the parish church choral tradition held up reasonably well until the 1950s, but that a sharp decline set in during the 1960s. Notwithstanding some excellent churches that still maintain good choral standards today, for the vast majority of the Anglican Communion such services are now a thing of the past. All of which suggests to me that the heyday of classical choral music in the parish church was a merely transient blip lasting... what?... 80 years?

 

* Incidentally I see from the NPOR page for St Michael's, Tenbury, that the organ is currently having its pneumatic actions renovated. Good to see it being looked after.

 

 

======================================

 

 

Well, one of the foremost places where the revival got underway, was Leeds Parish Church. Considering that this is a fairly modestly proportioned church, the organ is far larger than many a cathedral organ, and OC's included the likes of Bairstow in due course.

 

Was it Dr Hook, a past vicar, who said he would risk going to jail to introduce a surpliced choir of men & boys?

 

I feel fairly sure that St. Matthew's Northampton will feature somewhere. This was the Sir Sidney Nicholson church, was it not?

 

I'll have a dig about.

 

MM

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It didn't take long to find the basic facts from Wikipedia:-

 

 

The Choir of Leeds Parish Church was founded by Vicar Richard Fawcett probably as early as 1815, and was certainly in existence by 1818 (from which year there is accounting evidence for choristers' laundry). The Choir of Leeds Parish Church - Boys and Men - was, from its origins, a charge on the Church Rate; and, in what was then a largely Non-conformist town, a none-too-popular one. By the 1830s, the Choir's resourcing had been taken over by a list of voluntary subscribers. On arrival as Vicar of Leeds in 1837, Walter Farquhar Hook said he found "the surplices in rags and the books in tatters".

 

 

Hook set at once to work to revitalise the huge Parish and to provide a Church suitable for what he termed a "good" service; the choral provision formed a significant part of this endeavour and, from the opening of the "new" Church in 1841, choral worship has been maintained on weekdays as well as on Sundays. Organists since 1842 include the great Samuel Sebastian Wesley (1842–1849), Dr (later Sir) Edward Bairstow (1906–1913) and - nearer our own day - two musicians trained at Gloucester Cathedral by Dr Herbert Sumsion - Dr (Alfred) Melville Cook (1937–1956) and Dr Donald Hunt OBE (1957–1975).

 

-----------------------------

 

I shall have to check, but the area around Leeds PC was once a large slum area if I recall correctly, and this was the recruiting ground for the boy choristers.

 

What an education THEY got, if that be the case..........I shall find out more.

 

MM

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Thank you for that. I am aware of Leeds. Rainbow points out in his book (I did skim it briefly) that there were three isolated cases of robed male choirs in the early nineteenth century. Leeds was one; the other two were in, of all places, St John's, Donaghmore, Co. Limerick and St James's, Ryde, Isle of Wight. None of these owed anything to the others and the three priests concerned in no way spearheaded the movement to establish robed choirs in parish churches generally. "These three isloated instances must therefore be regarded as heralding rather than originating the choral revival." That's not to deny that Leeds did become a very important church musically, of course, but his point is that the initial thrust of the Oxford Movement and the Choral Revival lay elsewhere.

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One is tempted to think that SS Wesley's A few words on Cathedral Music and his influence from Leeds PC, Hereford, Exeter, Winchester, etc., would have kick started the revival, especially where parish churches aspired to cathedral-stylemusic.

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Thanks you for that. I am aware of Leeds. Rainbow points out in his book (I did skim it briefly) that there were three isolated cases of robed male choirs in the early nineteenth century. Leeds was one; the other two were in, of all places, St John's, Donaghmore, Co. Limerick and St James's, Ryde, Isle of Wight. None of these owed anything to the others and the three priests concerned in no way spearheaded the movement to establish robed choirs in parish churches generally. "These three isloated instances must therefore be regarded as heralding rather than originating the choral revival." That's not to deny that Leeds did become a very important church musically, of course, but his point is that the initial thrust of the Oxford Movement and the Choral Revival lay elsewhere.

 

========================

 

 

I'm quite sure you are probably right. I've never actually investigated the chronology of it, but just a note of caution. Leeds may have had an early 19th century choir, but it had fallen into a parlous state my the time Dr Hook arrived as vicar, meaning that there was a virtual reformation of the choral tradition, and more importantly, one based in and around the parish, where so much was done to "improve the lives of the working classes."

 

Interestingly, the great brass band movement, which had its roots in the working class and trade union movements, was the direct response to the middle-class down style of "improvement."

 

I suspect that the competition between the classes possibly averted civil war.

 

Further information comes to light since writing the above. Dr Hook, the Vicar of Leeds, was a supporter of the Tractarian movement, therefore including Leeds in the Oxford Movement and the Choral Revival. Here is the link:-

 

http://www.yorkshiredailyphoto.com/2009/09...uare-leeds.html

 

MM

 

 

PS: Although irrelevant, the following information, (taken for the Leeds City Council website), made me chuckle. Leeds was nothing of not interesting:-

 

The distinguished musical tradition of the acoustically superb St Anne's Roman Catholic Cathedral in Cookridge Street, is perhaps less widely recognised. It can however be traced back to the opening of this great church, in 1904. The Norman and Beard organ, built concurrently with the construction of the Cathedral, has been described as one of the most notable examples of Edwardian organ building in Great Britain. St Anne's also claims an unusual world record - that of having had the youngest ever Cathedral organist, Henry Chambers, who at the time of his appointment in 1913 was aged just eleven!

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Thanks you for that. I am aware of Leeds. Rainbow points out in his book (I did skim it briefly) that there were three isolated cases of robed male choirs in the early nineteenth century. Leeds was one; the other two were in, of all places, St John's, Donaghmore, Co. Limerick and St James's, Ryde, Isle of Wight. None of these owed anything to the others and the three priests concerned in no way spearheaded the movement to establish robed choirs in parish churches generally. "These three isloated instances must therefore be regarded as heralding rather than originating the choral revival." That's not to deny that Leeds did become a very important church musically, of course, but his point is that the initial thrust of the Oxford Movement and the Choral Revival lay elsewhere.

 

 

===============================

 

 

A fact I failed to impart concerning Doctor Hook, was that he was a curate in.....wait for it....the Isle of Wight, but not at St James's, Ryde. There's the obvious link between the earlier choral tradition and the Oxford/Tractarian movement as he developed it in Leeds.

 

MM

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Yes, I spotted that. St Mildred's, Whippingham, it was - Queen Victoria's parish church when she was at Osborne (and, by golly, doesn't it look it?) - with an interesting, little, early Willis organ as I remember - a bit rickety (this was back in the 60s) but a quite lively tone. Hook was there in 1821-5, while the development at Ryde didn't happen until 1838. It's just coincidence, I think.

 

Hook met Pusey and Newman while a student at Christ Church, Oxford and this is what undoubtedly shaped his future direction. I think we can probably take it as read that certain clerics in the nineteenth century learned to value reverential worship and ceremonial in preference to the puritan preaching tradition where the pulpit was everything and the altar nothing (except a place for people to sit). All this is really a bit of a red herring, though, because the real question inherent in my thread title is not how the movement arose, but rather about when it really took hold across the country. As I said, my (possibly skewed) impression so far is that, in the South West, the time when it all really took off on a wide scale seems to have been in the 1870s and '80s. Was it really that concentrated? How about other areas? When did the major bouts of activity take place there? Has this ground even been covered? There might be a PhD for someone here.

 

The invitation is to disprove my assertion that, after the Reformation, our much-vaunted and valued English Choral Tradition never actually existed in the ordinary parish church except for a relatively brief flash in the pan of about 80 years - which is now long gone (except for isolated honourable exceptions, as aforesaid).

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Yes, I spotted that. St Mildred's, Whippingham, it was - Queen Victoria's parish church when she was at Osborne (and, by golly, doesn't it look it?) - with an interesting, little, early Willis organ as I remember - a bit rickety (this was back in the 60s) but a quite lively tone. Hook was there in 1821-5, while the development at Ryde didn't happen until 1838. It's just coincidence, I think.

 

Hook met Pusey and Newman while a student at Christ Church, Oxford and this is what undoubtedly shaped his future direction. I think we can probably take it as read that certain clerics in the nineteenth century learned to value reverential worship and ceremonial in preference to the puritan preaching tradition where the pulpit was everything and the altar nothing (except a place for people to sit). All this is really a bit of a red herring, though, because the real question inherent in my thread title is not how the movement arose, but rather about when it really took hold across the country. As I said, my (possibly skewed) impression so far is that, in the South West, the time when it all really took off on a wide scale seems to have been in the 1870s and '80s. Was it really that concentrated? How about other areas? When did the major bouts of activity take place there? Has this ground even been covered? There might be a PhD for someone here.

 

The invitation is to disprove my assertion that, after the Reformation, our much-vaunted and valued English Choral Tradition never actually existed in the ordinary parish church except for a relatively brief flash in the pan of about 80 years - which is now long gone (except for isolated honourable exceptions, as aforesaid).

 

================================

 

 

Apart from the obvious fact that S S Wesley was VERY important in choral music, I shall watch the thread with interest, because I cannot claim to be anything other than a skeletal historian in such matters.

 

MM

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S S Wesley was VERY important in choral music

Well....

 

I have no doubt that SSW was everything he was cracked up to be as an organist and he certainly wrote some very worthwhile choral music. However, he was never noted as a choir trainer (someone else did that job at Leeds) and there is evidence that he really didn't cut the mustard in this area. One thing: I'm quite sure it is quite wrong to project our notion of standards back onto the nineteenth century. I have an interesting example I'll post later; I don't want to play my aces just yet.

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Well....

 

I have no doubt that SSW was everything he was cracked up to be as an organist and he certainly wrote some very worthwhile choral music. However, he was never noted as a choir trainer (someone else did that job at Leeds) and there is evidence that he really didn't cut the mustard in this area. One thing: I'm quite sure it is quite wrong to project our notion of standards back onto the nineteenth century. I have an interesting example I'll post later; I don't want to play my aces just yet.

 

================================

 

 

Thinking out loud, so to speak, if I were to start investigating the growth of choral music in the latter half of the 19th century, I would look at some of the earlier music, as well as some of the demographics.

 

I'm not getting fixated on Leeds, but as an afterthought, I realised that many important musicians were connected with the city;

among them C V Stanford. If we consider how the fame of the 1857 (?) Schulze at Armley spread, it's perhaps a pointer towards the excellent communications which then existed and the nature of the British "music club" which travelled freely between London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds; all vastly important centres of manufacturing, with a wealth never since rivalled.

I have little doubt but that the choral music of Leeds PC would have been highly regarded and "exported" around the country.

 

I suspect that this was the most important factor of all; coupled to the desparate need to deal with slums, poverty, child labour, no education and little health-care.....it was a time bomb waiting to go off. (Life expectancy was less than 40 years in the big cities, with infant mortality at an astronomical rate).

 

Moving swiftly on, what about the earlier composers such as Walmisley, (anyone know his D MAJOR setting?). He ended up at Cambridge (Trinity?), and clearly wrote service settings etc.

 

The early service settings may be the clue to how things developed and where, but as my memory fails for the most part, I'll leave that quest to others unless I stumble across the Holy Grail.

 

Of course, the other interesting side-show was the choral society movement, which must have been well established, and which was probably dominated by the non-conformist choirs. I think Dr Hook at Leeds virtually "stole" choristers and important non-conformist churchmen, so it wasn't that difficult to recruit singers with a bit of bribery and corrupton, I suspect.

 

St John's College, Cambridge has, I understand, a fairly unbroken record of service singing since it opened its doors.

 

Interesting aside about Cardinal Newman by the way. He was a curate at a high tractarian C-of-E church in Bingley, West Yorkshire, only a few miles away from Leeds, before he saw the light and the call of spaghetti bolognese.

 

Of course, the politics of the various denominations at the time must have been very competitive, and like Tesco, they would probably be obsessed with "market share."

 

If art imitates life, the comedy film "The Missionary" (written by Michael Palin), where a young clergyman works among "fallen women,"

captures the spirit of the age superbly.

 

MM

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Unfortunately I have to go and teach A Level Music now, but briefly, as part of my Masters Dissertation a few years ago I researched the Canterbury District Choral Union which held its first combined choirs festival in 1862 (150 years ago next year - the RSCM Area Festival will be acknowledging this). This link will take you to a map showing all the church choirs who attended in 1870 which gives a bit of an idea as to how the Church Choir had become established in East Kent - some of you might find it interesting.

My own choir (St Stephen's Canterbury) didn't attend and the first acknowledgement of there being a choir at St Stephen's is in the 1880s when there is an entry in the Churchwarden's accounts for copying of music for the choir (as well as for the purchase of wine for the sacrament). We still have weekly Eucharist and Choral Evensong with a choir of over 40 :blink:

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================================

 

Interesting aside about Cardinal Newman by the way. He was a curate at a high tractarian C-of-E church in Bingley, West Yorkshire, only a few miles away from Leeds, before he saw the light and the call of spaghetti bolognese.

 

 

MM

 

I am not aware Oxford is particularly famed for this dish.

N

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I am not aware Oxford is particularly famed for this dish.

N

 

===========================

 

Fame requires repetition.......

 

The last time I visited a student at Wadham, I was on the receiving-end of a microwave chilli con carni and a microwave Cox's Pippin with instant custard.

 

That was certainly the stuff of repetition, I can tell you.

 

MM

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This is a fascinating subject that Vox Humana has raised. Leeds Parish Church and S.S Wesley certainly were beacons of light in the murk of English Church music which we find in the first half of the nineteenth century. Even the cathedrals were not above reproach at this time and the work of Maria Hackett will be known to many of us here; her book "A Brief Account of Cathedral and Collegiate Schools" spells out graphically the unsatisfactory state of choristers’ lives.

 

Clearly the revival, as Vox proposes, began in earnest with the Oxford Movement with the number of choral settings of the canticles, not to mention anthems of all shapes and sizes descending upon us almost like a plague from this period onwards. It is might be fanciful of me to link the Oxford Movement in Anglican Church with the growing and greater awareness of the Roman Catholic Church, but look at the dates Vox has suggested for the "sharp decline" of the Anglican Choral Tradition; would it be equally mischievous to point to "Vatican II" and its undoubted effect on the Anglican Liturgy as being not entirely unconnected with the dates which he proposes?

 

My predecessor as choirmaster at my church would often tell me about his time, during the 50s, as a chorister in the choir of St Gabriel’s, Heaton in Newcastle; the choir, run by his father, sang fully choral services every Sunday and there were the usual visits to sing services at local cathedrals, not to mention summer camps. Photographs suggest that there were probably 35 - 40 members of this all-male choir and it was certainly one of many up and down the country.

 

However, like the lawyer Hoskins in "Rumpole", I, too, have daughters and consequently have absolutely no bias in favour of all-male choirs. I would be interested to hear from fellow posters about those parish church choirs, however constituted, that continue to maintain the sort of level of commitment and standard that compares with the church choir to which I alluded above.

 

Rather like pcnd5574’s strictures in respect of a small cathedral organ, I think we are going to have to apply some rules; a fully choral setting each Sunday; and regular cathedral visits each year. And no quartets, may I suggest, please, at least 20 - 25 singers on a regular basis.

 

David Harrison

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My predecessor as choirmaster at my church would often tell me about his time, during the 50s, as a chorister in the choir of St Gabriel’s, Heaton in Newcastle; the choir, run by his father, sang fully choral services every Sunday and there were the usual visits to sing services at local cathedrals, not to mention summer camps. Photographs suggest that there were probably 35 - 40 members of this all-male choir and it was certainly one of many up and down the country.

 

David Harrison

 

Old choristers here in Ripon in the 1950's (under Lionel Dakers and Philip Marshall) recall voice trials with boys queueing up down the south aisle of the nave waiting for their audition - and all that before the days of choral scholarships and the like. O tempora, o mores......

 

JS

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This link will take you to a map showing all the church choirs who attended in 1870 which gives a bit of an idea as to how the Church Choir had become established in East Kent - some of you might find it interesting.

 

Thank you, Steve. This is most interesting. Clearly Kent aleady had a healthy choral scene before the period I mentioned. I need to look further back. This has set me wondering again: how many choirs sang anthems or canticles before they were surpliced and moved to the east end? At St Andrew's, Plymouth (again) a writer whose memories went back to the mid 1850s recalled the west gallery with its organ and a paid choir of sixteen voices (6 sopranos, 2 altos, 8 tenors and basses). The standard was "fairly good" (whatever that might mean), but they rarely sang anthems and at every Matins for around a quarter of a century they always sang Jackson's Te Deum.

 

Clearly the revival, as Vox proposes, began in earnest with the Oxford Movement with the number of choral settings of the canticles, not to mention anthems of all shapes and sizes descending upon us almost like a plague from this period onwards.

 

That's an excellent point. Thank you, David. When did the publishing of canticles and anthems really take off, I wonder?

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Further thoughts have been going through my mind since this topic was first raised.

 

Perhaps, when I set out suggestions for information about parish church choirs and the extent to which the traditions of the past have been continued, I should have included the many fine school choirs which often reach a very high standard indeed. This is especially true of the independent sector where many of the boarding schools maintain a firm link with both the Churches of England and Rome and their service patterns and traditions.

 

In my last (preparatory) school, the proximity of Heathrow meant that many of our number were, like Home Thoughts, From Abroad and of a wide variety of world religions. There were all kinds in the chapel choir, including, probably, for all I knew, Hindus, Sikhs and even, like me, devout cowards together with, as I recall, a follower of Islam, whose mother, while expressing her pleasure at his being a member of the choir, asked that I did not choose him to carry the cross. I assured her that, delighted as I was for Abdul to be one of our elite his chances of becoming Head Chorister could safely be filed under the heading of Pie In The Sky and she could rest easy on the matter.

 

The secondary independent schools, known, perhaps somewhat misleadingly, as public schools also have excellent choral traditions and, with most of them now being co-educational, have the opportunity to run choirs of considerable quality. I know of at least one of our number who might well feel able to tell us something about his clearly excellent and experienced school choir. I’m sure there are several others.

 

David Harrison

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That's an excellent point. Thank you, David. When did the publishing of canticles and anthems really take off, I wonder?

 

 

==============================

 

 

This is why I mentioned Walmisley; one of the earlier composers in the canticles category. Wasn't he London based originally?

Pimlico springs to mind, but I haven't checked.

 

However, David Harrison, although making an excellent point about public school choirs and choir schools, actually misses the target.

 

The astounding thing, (and it IS astounding), is that the parish music movement began in the parishes, but may well have poached experienced adult singers from the nonconformists and the early choral societies. (I think I'm right in saying that the Halifax Choral Society started in the early part of the 19th century, and may have had a connection with Mendelssohn somewhat later).

 

The great threat to the C-of-E was the growth of nonconformist denominations; many of which (such as the Methodists and Congregationalists) developed a fine tradition of choral singing. We should never underestimate the Congregational church, in which they not only sang hymns and anthems, but pointed psalms also; people like Dr Gauntlett travelling around the country to teach the art of pointed psalm-singing and chants. (The "Songs of Praise" hymn book is a goldmine of fine hymns and chants).

 

When it comes to school-choirs, we can more or less forget it, because in the inner cities, there was virtually no education for children of any age, other than the bare minimum of Sunday School teaching.

 

The following comes from a Leeds City Council web-site, which very usefully covers the history of Leeds:-

 

Most poor children had little or no education. In the early 1800s Sunday Schools taught reading, writing and arithmetic. Lancastrian and National Schools were founded in Leeds. There were also factory schools like the one founded by John Marshall, and there were church Schools. But few children went to school at all, and those that did went for only a short time - for about 4½ years between the ages of 4 and 9. The Education Act of 1870 led to the foundation of Board Schools, which provided free elementary education, compulsory from 1876. Provision of free secondary education followed.

 

The importance of Leeds cannot be underestimated, and when Dr Hook became the incumbent at the parish church, his overriding priority was the education of children. A giant in the history of the city, it is hardly surprising that a large bronze statue is erected in the City Square to his memory. However, his example and the Leeds model, soon found backing from the many progressive liberals, (many of whom were connected with the growth of the Congregational churches), and they were succesful in bringing about compulsory schooling as a legal requirement, with the estabishment of Board Schools etc. It actually went further than this in certain places, such as Bournville and the village of Saltaire, just down the road from me. At the latter, Sir Titus Salt not only created a massive factory complex, (based on Alpaca wool and Mohair), but also built a model village, where there was a hospital, alms houses, a town hall, beautiful open spaces and parks, but more importantly, child welfare and education as well as a very fine library. (The Cadburys were quakers, if I recall correctly).

 

What were the great pastimes for the factory workers and their families, and who developed those pastimes?

 

The answer is music: especially choral music and brass band music, with glee clubs bands and choral societies springing up here there and everywhere. The people who organised all this and trained the members, were usually local organists, and so effective was the campaign, special trains were arranged so that choirs and bands could partake in the many festivals around the country, in the spirit of friendly rivalry which still exists to-day in the brass band movement.

 

It was from this, and partly due to the need to recruit new blood, that school music took off, and many spectacularly good choirs emerged as a result. (I sang in just this sort of school choir, where the standard was phenomenal).

 

Let's not forget that the middle classes are a product of the scientific and industrial age, and at that time, you were either a landowner, an industrialist (possibly both), one of the few highly educated professionals or a member of the working class, and the extraordinary explosion in brass and choral music came from the grass roots of the latter; completely confounding the indifference and arrogance of what the C-of-E had become in those early days of the industrial revolution, and which had led to the breakaway non-conformist denominations. It was the genius of clergymen like Dr Hook which exploited and championed this extraordinary groundswell movement, as at Leeds PC; setting the official seal of approval on art, education, self improvement and the need to develop an educated middle class, capable of meeting the needs of new technology, science and social cohesion.

 

When it comes to choral music, the glees were important, and when the Tractarian movement powered its way around the nation, putting art-music to religious use, it was but one small step to founding big church choirs. Many local organists turned to composing: some successfully and others less so, but at my local Anglican Church, I used to rifle through reams and reams of copper-leaf, hand-written manuscripts. These consisted of anthems and service settings composed by a former O & C; the son of a local 19th century industrialist by the name of Marriner. (I don't know if they're still there in the music cupboards).

 

Presumably, others did similar things, but I expect that the best music survived, while most of the local compositions fell out of reglar use as better material came onto the market.

 

How is my PhD coming along? :blink:

 

MM

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Here's interesting, as the Welsh would say.

 

It's a list of musical publications by John Goss targetted at church choirs/organists:-

 

Just look how early some of these are.

 

 

 

  • Parochial Psalmody (London, 1826)
  • The Monthly Sacred Minstrel (London, 1833–c.1835)
  • Chants, Ancient and Modern (London, 1841)
  • (with James Turle) Cathedral Services Ancient and Modern (two volumes, 1846)
  • (with William Mercer) The Church Psalter and Hymnbook (London, 1855)
  • The Organist's Companion (London, 1864)

This tends to suggest that there was a growing demand for publications, though it does seem to be restricted to hymns and psalmody. The existence of a publishing network does, however, suggest that any new form of worship which included service settings amd/or anthems, would become widely available very quickly.

 

Could it be, that there was already a move towards parish choirs in churches across the country, which may have started with hymns & psalms, but may well have developed into more ambitious music as the 19th century progressed?

 

MM

 

MM

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==============================

 

 

This is why I mentioned Walmisley; one of the earlier composers in the canticles category. Wasn't he London based originally?

Pimlico springs to mind, but I haven't checked.

 

However, David Harrison, although making an excellent point about public school choirs and choir schools, actually misses the target.

 

The astounding thing, (and it IS astounding), is that the parish music movement began in the parishes, but may well have poached experienced adult singers from the nonconformists and the early choral societies. (I think I'm right in saying that the Halifax Choral Society started in the early part of the 19th century, and may have had a connection with Mendelssohn somewhat later).

 

The great threat to the C-of-E was the growth of nonconformist denominations; many of which (such as the Methodists and Congregationalists) developed a fine tradition of choral singing. We should never underestimate the Congregational church, in which they not only sang hymns and anthems, but pointed psalms also; people like Dr Gauntlett travelling around the country to teach the art of pointed psalm-singing and chants. (The "Songs of Praise" hymn book is a goldmine of fine hymns and chants).

 

When it comes to school-choirs, we can more or less forget it, because in the inner cities, there was virtually no education for children of any age, other than the bare minimum of Sunday School teaching.

 

The following comes from a Leeds City Council web-site, which very usefully covers the history of Leeds:-

 

Most poor children had little or no education. In the early 1800s Sunday Schools taught reading, writing and arithmetic. Lancastrian and National Schools were founded in Leeds. There were also factory schools like the one founded by John Marshall, and there were church Schools. But few children went to school at all, and those that did went for only a short time - for about 4½ years between the ages of 4 and 9. The Education Act of 1870 led to the foundation of Board Schools, which provided free elementary education, compulsory from 1876. Provision of free secondary education followed.

 

The importance of Leeds cannot be underestimated, and when Dr Hook became the incumbent at the parish church, his overriding priority was the education of children. A giant in the history of the city, it is hardly surprising that a large bronze statue is erected in the City Square to his memory. However, his example and the Leeds model, soon found backing from the many progressive liberals, (many of whom were connected with the growth of the Congregational churches), and they were succesful in bringing about compulsory schooling as a legal requirement, with the estabishment of Board Schools etc. It actually went further than this in certain places, such as Bournville and the village of Saltaire, just down the road from me. At the latter, Sir Titus Salt not only created a massive factory complex, (based on Alpaca wool and Mohair), but also built a model village, where there was a hospital, alms houses, a town hall, beautiful open spaces and parks, but more importantly, child welfare and education as well as a very fine library. (The Cadburys were quakers, if I recall correctly).

 

What were the great pastimes for the factory workers and their families, and who developed those pastimes?

 

The answer is music: especially choral music and brass band music, with glee clubs bands and choral societies springing up here there and everywhere. The people who organised all this and trained the members, were usually local organists, and so effective was the campaign, special trains were arranged so that choirs and bands could partake in the many festivals around the country, in the spirit of friendly rivalry which still exists to-day in the brass band movement.

 

It was from this, and partly due to the need to recruit new blood, that school music took off, and many spectacularly good choirs emerged as a result. (I sang in just this sort of school choir, where the standard was phenomenal).

 

Let's not forget that the middle classes are a product of the scientific and industrial age, and at that time, you were either a landowner, an industrialist (possibly both), one of the few highly educated professionals or a member of the working class, and the extraordinary explosion in brass and choral music came from the grass roots of the latter; completely confounding the indifference and arrogance of what the C-of-E had become in those early days of the industrial revolution, and which had led to the breakaway non-conformist denominations. It was the genius of clergymen like Dr Hook which exploited and championed this extraordinary groundswell movement, as at Leeds PC; setting the official seal of approval on art, education, self improvement and the need to develop an educated middle class, capable of meeting the needs of new technology, science and social cohesion.

 

When it comes to choral music, the glees were important, and when the Tractarian movement powered its way around the nation, putting art-music to religious use, it was but one small step to founding big church choirs. Many local organists turned to composing: some successfully and others less so, but at my local Anglican Church, I used to rifle through reams and reams of copper-leaf, hand-written manuscripts. These consisted of anthems and service settings composed by a former O & C; the son of a local 19th century industrialist by the name of Marriner. (I don't know if they're still there in the music cupboards).

 

Presumably, others did similar things, but I expect that the best music survived, while most of the local compositions fell out of reglar use as better material came onto the market.

 

How is my PhD coming along? :blink:

 

MM

I'd say your PhD is coming along VERY nicely. I find your writing on this topic some of your very best, your thoughts fresh and beautifully organised.

 

You are less compelling when defending Pedal Organ Mixtures 8rks (19.22.26.29.33.36.40.43).

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I'd say your PhD is coming along VERY nicely. I find your writing on this topic some of your very best, your thoughts fresh and beautifully organised.

 

You are less compelling when defending Pedal Organ Mixtures 8rks (19.22.26.29.33.36.40.43).

 

 

But wouldn't it be great to have a choir and congregation that needed a Pedal Mixture 19.22.26.29.33.36.40.43 just to keep them happy in the hymns?

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[quote name='David Drinkell' You are less compelling when defending Pedal Organ Mixtures 8rks (19.22.26.29.33.36.40.43).

 

 

quote]

 

==========================

 

 

Oh well, if you haven't got the pedal technique to play descants with your feet.................. :blink:

 

MM

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