Limited organ accompaniment has now also resumed. Usually, this will be on the first and third Sundays of each month.
Music for Sunday 20th June
Pastorale: To a wild rose: Melodie: To a water-lily – Edward MacDowell
Edward MacDowell, a nineteenth century American composer who had studied in Europe, published his Woodland Sketches Op. 51 in 1896 through his German publisher Breitkopf and Härtel, to whom he had been introduced by Franz Liszt. Perhaps inspired by his move to a farm in Peterborough, N.H. and its peaceful woodland surroundings, these ten short pieces originally for piano have remained the composer's best-known works.
"To a Wild Rose" (No. 1) and "To a Water Lily" (No. 6) are the most frequently played of the set. They are gentle works with mildly impressionistic harmony and a simple rhythmic profile. To a Wild Rose" is based on a tune sung by the Brotherton Native American tribe.
Fugue in Eb ‘St Anne’, BWV 552 - JS Bach
The ‘St Anne’ Fugue is the closing movement of Bach’s Bach’s Klavierubung III, a set of organ mass movements and chorale preludes published in 1735. The nickname “St Anne” refers to the coincidental resemblance of its main theme to William Croft’s tune for the hymn “O God, our help in ages past”, which, however, was almost certainly unknown to Bach.
The form of this fugue recalls a 17th-century three-part ricercar or canzona, such as those of Froberger and Frescobaldi: firstly in the way that the themes become progressively faster in successive sections; and secondly in the way one theme transforms into the next. Each of the sections has a new theme, and all three themes are skilfully combined in the final section. There is a climactic point near the end with the final resounding entry of the first subject in the pedal. It brings the work to its brilliant conclusion, with a unique combination of the backward looking stile antico in the pedal and the forward looking stile moderno in the upper parts. It has been described as "the grandest ending to any fugue in music."
Music at St Mary's generally
Music has always been important at St Mary's, which pioneered the liturgical performance of 16th and 17th century choral music from the 1950s onwards. We set out below the background to our approach to music that we would follow in more normal times:
The church has a Director of Music, Choral Scholars, Boy and Girl Choristers and a Church Choir. St Mary's is affiliated to the Royal School of Church Music.
Choral Eucharist, with a Latin Mass or English Communion setting and a motet, is sung by the Choral Scholars on the 1st Sunday of each month, except during August. Choral Evensong is sung by the Boy and Girl Choristers and the Choral Scholars several times a year, and special choral services include the candlelit Darkness to Light service in Advent, the service of Nine Lessons and Carols, Midnight Mass, Maundy Thursday Choral Eucharist, Good Friday Devotion, Easter Sunday Sung Eucharist, and an evening Ascension Day Eucharist.
Solo anthems are sung by our junior Choral Scholars at some services of Evensong.
The choristers and choral scholars also sing at wedding services.
Please see the list of forthcoming choral services on our Music for the Month page.
The Boy and Girl Choristers
If you are an enthusiastic singer aged 10-18, come and sing with our choristers.
They sing at the 10am service once a month, and also sing alongside the professional choral scholars at Carol services, major festivals and choral evensongs. Choristers wear Royal School of Church Music medals and ribbons and St Mary’s robes. They follow the RSCM Voice for Life Training Scheme, and also get to sing solos and read lessons in some services.
The choristers are a lively and friendly group of dedicated young musicians, who work hard and also have lots of fun. Some are enthusiastic Thespians (including their school's production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and some also take part in productions at the Rose Theatre, Kingston, and are active in a wide range of sports.
Lizzie, our former head chorister, is now singing with several Oxford college chapel choirs.
For the latest news on our Choristers please click here.
These adult professional singers sing at Choral Eucharist, Choral Evensong and on major festivals. They include a former member of the choir of St Paul’s Cathedral and the scholars regularly deputise in cathedrals. The ‘Ouseley Choral Scholars’ are supported by the Ouseley Church Music Trust. The 2019 scholars are Emily Chapman, Emily Christian, Devon Macadam-Sutton, and Andrew Moore. They are all current students at Royal Holloway, University of London.
The Wiiliams Church Music Trust
We are delighted that the Williams Church Music Trust has given a very generous grant of £2,000 to St Mary’s. This grant will support services of Choral Evensong, and will also enable our boy and girl choristers to have singing lessons.
The aims of the Williams Trust are to provide grants to assist the study, practice and improvement of instrumental music (including in particular organ music), and singing (in particular choral singing) especially in connection with the services of the Church of England and of Churches in communion with the Church of England.
More information about the Trust, and George Williams, its founder, is to be found on this website:
It was the focus on early choral music that inspired the commissioning of the superb organ installed in the church by Frobenius, Organ builders of Lyngby, Denmark, in 1975.
This outstanding instrument was voiced in the church by Erik Frobenius, and is widely praised for its light, responsive touch and the delightful sweetness and clarity of its sound. It is a smaller cousin of the renowned organ of Queen's College, Oxford, installed by Frobenius a decade earlier.
The organ is a joy to play and has attracted a number of eminent organists to play, give recitals and make recordings on St Mary's organ, including James O'Donnell, James Dalton, Simon Preston, Dame Gillian Weir, Susi Jeans and Ian leGrice. A CD recording of the organ was recently recorded by Emma Gibbins, a previous Director of Music of St Mary's, and is available for sale at the church.
The specification can be found on the National Pipe Organ Register here
We are grateful thanks to the Ouseley Church Music Trust www.ouseleytrust.org.uk for their continued support of St Mary’s music department.
Follow us on Twitter twitter.com/MusicatStMary