Chants, chance and memories

Given the many hundreds of Anglican chants composed, and the limited selection CL has sung in its short history, what is the probability of hearing three of them sung consecutively in a single broadcast of choral evensong?

I tuned into Choral Evensong yesterday (whilst driving through the Exmoor countryside in my new TT; quite literally lush!) to hear Trinity Cambridge singing a Leighton fest and some faultless psalm-singing. From time to time, a chant that we’ve sung on a CanLit weekend is sung on a broadcast and I get an unexpected flood of memories and associations, much more so than nearly another type of work. I suppose a psalm chant retains its association with an occasion by virtue of being comparatively under-performed than sets of canticles and anthems.

How strange then, out of all the available choices, that Trinity should sing three chants that have all been on the CL music list at some time past.

The first, by Atkins, we sang on Saturday at St David’s — the same service where I got the basses to sing “we are brought very low” at the octave – attracting a few raised eyebrows from the congregation I recall! The second, by J Kellow Pye, we sang superbly on the Sunday and included Toppie’s motto “I am become like a bottle in the smoke”.

The third was by George Martin (not of fifth Beatle fame AFAIK) — which veterans may recognise from a Salisbury trip some years earlier, not least because of the headache fitting the the passing notes in with the pointing. But it’s a solid gold chant – I recommend you “listen again” and hear for yourselves.

Another vague tie-in with St David’s is their choice of canticles, the other setting by Leighton (Magdalen College, the first service) which, in turns, I find superior to the Second Service which we did in St David’s. Anyone like it? Fancy it for Wells 09?