A new year for church musicians

Now that we’ve put our carol books back on the shelves and taken down the decorations, your thoughts might be turning to music for Lent and Easter.

Easter week is the most meaningful one in the life and music of the Church, and the excitement of Easter morning portrayed in music is one to which I always thrill.

I’ve written quite a few anthems for Lent and Passiontide, but I’ll begin by mentioning my cantata, Wondrous Cross.  Written for my home church of Lion Walk Church, Colchester (you can hear them sing it on Youtube) and subsequently recorded by Selwyn College Choir (dir. Sarah MacDonald) for Regent Records, it lasts about 30 minutes and is based on the Seven Last Words, mixing recitative and congregational hymns with settings of related poems and texts. It’s published by OUP and can be accompanied by organ alone, or organ and strings. I’ve led several workshops on it over the years, and It has now had a healthy number of performances in worship services and in concert, in the UK, Europe and the USA.

Several of the movements in Wondrous Cross can also be sung as separate anthems. Additionally, I have contributed several Lent and Passiontide anthems in The Oxford Book of Flexible Anthems and The Oxford Book of Easy Flexible Anthems. Other anthems include the powerfully dramatic O Saviour of the World and, for Palm Sunday, a lively setting of The Feast of Palms (both of these are recorded on the Wondrous Cross disc, and by following the links you can hear extracts).

Maybe I should write an Easter cantata too – would that be of interest to choir directors, I wonder? Anyway, in the meanwhile my Easter anthems range from the rich and lengthy Rise up, my love to the rhythmic and lively He is Risen. Others include Alleluia, Thine be the Glory, and several arrangements in The Oxford Book of Flexible Anthems.

There’s plenty to choose from – and I’m sure there will be more in the future!

For a full list of my anthems, listed by seasons, go here.

Thank you for reading.

2 thoughts on “A new year for church musicians”

  1. Hi Alan
    I love many of your works and would be delighted to include some new material in the repertoire for my school and community choirs.
    You’ve mentioned Easter, but what about music specifically for Candlemass – the end of the church’s Christmas period?
    Music celebrating light to use at Christingles – those which don’t necessarily want a full-on Christmas theme?
    Music for Pentecost?
    My community choirs really loved singing your Scot’s Nativity this Christmas and my school choirs have enjoyed several of your Christmas compositions over the years.
    Thank you

    1. Hello Anastasia,
      I’m afraid I’ve not written anything for Candlemas – something I must put right!
      I have three anthems for Pentecost: Come holy ghost, our souls inspire (SATB or SAB unaccompanied, unpublished and available from me), Come O Creator Spirit (SATB and organ with optional congregational part, OUP), and O breath of life (SA or SAB: in The Oxford Book of Flexible Anthems, OUP). You can find further details of all these under the Pentecost heading under the ‘Individual Anthems’ page of this website, or just search for each one. Hope this is useful, Alan

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