Friday, September 1, 2017

Choral Evensong

From the Religion News Service, a story about how Choral Evensong is catching on in England, attracting people who otherwise don't attend Church of England services:

Evensong is a creation of the English Reformation, derived from monastic prayer traditions. Its liturgy is drawn from the Church of England’s Book of Common Prayer, created by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer in 1549. It usually lasts about 45 minutes and includes Scripture readings, psalms and the Nunc Dimittis (Song of Simeon) and Magnificat, both taken from the Gospel of Luke.

Some of the greatest choral music sung at evensong was written at the time of Queen Elizabeth I, soon after its liturgy was first designed, by composers such as Thomas Tallis and William Byrd. The works of other English composers, such as Ralph Vaughan Williams, Richard Ayleward, Hubert Parry and Herbert Howells, are also frequently featured.

Of course, the BBC has been broadcasting Choral Evensong--or Catholic Vespers more recently--for years.

The Anglican Ordinariate prominently presents Choral Evensong as one of its primary examples of Anglican Patrimony brought with them to their unity with the Catholic Church.

The Religious News Service story concludes, however, with this sad note (get it?):

Then there’s the more practical reason to come to evensong. Cathedrals in England often charge high admission fees — about $25 in some cases — so some tourists opt instead for evensong, which is free.

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