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The Month's Music

The Crystal Ball

Music for June 2021

As most readers will be aware, a government department which seems to have little to do with the popular form of its title has slammed on the brakes for all singers except members of professional ensembles: after allowing singing with unrestricted numbers from early April, guidelines from the ‘Culture Department’ have now restricted the number of singers in amateur choirs to no more than six. This accounts for the last-minute cancellation of May’s Choral Evensong, but for June our singers have accepted a small fee, to enable them to be counted as professionals for the purposes of the guidelines.

            So, what do we expect, this month? Ironically, 6 June is RSCM Music Sunday; and a new anthem has been published by RSCM for this occasion. God of all creation, by Chris Totney, is a bold and imaginative three-part setting in a neo-Elgarian idiom of a contemporary prayer by Canon Gordon Giles, satisfying to sing and enjoyable to hear. And as a bonus, we have Mozart’s ever-popular miniature Ave verum corpus as the introit; so music will be joyfully celebrated that day. We revert to Peter Nardone’s more conventional setting of the Eucharist this month, after the excitements of John Bertalot’s Johannesburg Service, which will have some more outings in due course.

            For the two following Sundays, we offer familiar small-scale anthems: on 13 June, Thomas Attwood’s Mozartianly graceful Teach me, O Lord has another outing, and on 20 June Henry Loosemore’s O Lord, increase our faith, a late example of polyphonic simplicity once attributed to Gibbons, makes a return visit.

            And after that? Well, we hope that from 21 June the musical shackles may have been taken off. We plan to sing the same music at Choral Evensong on 27 June as we had scheduled for the May Evensong; so I refer you to last month’s column for comment on Tallis, O Lord, give thy Holy Spirit, Clucas responses, Stanford in C and Ives, Listen, sweet dove. We may be a month late, but we hope there will still be pentecostal fire in the performance! On the morning of that Sunday, there is the possibility of a live choir; but if not there will be a recording. In either case the anthem will be our friend Geoff Weaver’s homage to Mozart in his setting of Ave verum corpus.

            And then we hope there won’t be any more problems . . .

                                                                                                Succentor