Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Vespers from Brompton

Tomorrow the BBC will broadcast Vespers for the feast of Saints Fabian (Pope and Martyr) & Sebastian (Roman Soldier and Martyr) from the Brompton Oratory on its long-running Choral Evensong program. The musical program includes:

Organ Prelude: Intonatio del ottavo tono (Andrea Gabrieli)
Invitatory: Anon (17th century)
Psalms 128-132 (Gregorian chant and falsi-bordoni)
Office Hymn: Sanctorum meritis (Gregorian chant and Palestrina)
Magnificat sexti toni (Lassus)
Antiphon of Our Lady: Alma Redemptoris Mater (L’HĂ©ritier)
Organ Voluntary: Praeludium in D minor, BuxWV140 (Buxtehude)

Celebrant: The Revd Father Michael Lang
Director of Music: Patrick Russill
Organist: Ben Bloor

Father Michael Uwe Lang is the author of three books on the liturgy published by Ignatius Press. The latest is Signs of The Holy One: Liturgy, Ritual, and Expression of the Sacred and it features a cover photo of the Easter Vigil at the London Oratory. Father Lang has an M.A. in theology from the University of Vienna and a Ph.D. in theology from the University of Oxford. In addition to being a priest of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri in London, he is currently Lecturer in Theology at Heythrop College, University of London, and on the Visiting Faculty at the Liturgical Institute in Mundelein, Ill. His other books published by Ignatius are Turning Towards the Lord and The Voice of the Church at Prayer.

The director of music at the Oratory of St. Philip Neri in London, Patrick Russill

is recognised as one of the leading figures in English church music. Following organ studies with Nicholas Danby while organ scholar at New College, Oxford, he was appointed Organist of the London Oratory in 1977 at the age of 23 in succession to Ralph Downes, on Downes’ nomination. In 1999 he was appointed Director of Music at the Oratory, assuming overall responsibility for its choral tradition and especially for its famous professional choir, which under his direction ‘remains among the finest mixed-voice choirs in the country’ (Choir & Organ). . . .

As an organ recitalist he has played at the Royal Festival Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall, in Europe, Asia and all over the UK. He introduced the reconstructed Tudor organs of the Early English Organ Project to London’s South Bank in a Queen Elizabeth Hall recital acclaimed by the Independent on Sunday, in its classical review of 2007, as the outstanding London keyboard concert of the year.

The Guardian also reviewed that recital, highlighting the sad destruction and loss of many organs in the churches of England after the Reformation:

Time, and the zealotry of Protestant reformers, have ensured that, of the thousands of organs in cathedrals, churches and religious foundations in pre-Reformation England, none have survived. But the discovery in Suffolk of a couple of substantial fragments in the shape of original wooden soundboards has allowed the reconstruction of two instruments, both played in this concert by Patrick Russill.

We have also lost a great deal of the music that would have sounded on the originals. But enough remains, even in fragmentary form, of the works of John Redford, Thomas Preston and John Blitheman, as well as better known figures such as Thomas Tallis and William Byrd, to indicate that the 16th century was a high point of English keyboard composition. Virtuoso fancies by Byrd contained in My Ladye Nevell's Booke showed a secular side to a composer best known for his sacred music, and offered Russill a welcome opportunity for some right-hand flamboyance, which he seized.

After the live broadcast, the program is repeated on Sunday and then is available on demand on-line for a time.

No comments:

Post a Comment