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Benedicite cover picture

Chichester Cathedral Choir

Director: Alan Thurlow
Organ: Mark Wardell
Benedicite in A William Harris
I sing of a maiden H. Stanley Taylor
Behold, I make all things new Bernard Rose
There is no rose John Joubert
Benedicite in B flat Herbert Sumsion
Child of heaven, child of earth Anthony Foster
From East to West Alan Gibbs
Quem vidistis pastores George Malcolm
Te Deum in B minor Tertius Noble
Jubilate in B minor Tertius Noble
The Birds Basil Smallman
Laudate Dominum
Geoffrey Burgon
Benedicite in G Francis Jackson
Holy is the true light William Harris
Let God arise Herbert Howells
The Prayer of St Richard James Thomas
Benedicite in E flat James Thomas

Total playing time 69m 36s



At the heart of the English choral tradition are the daily Offices of Mattins and Evensong. The Book of Common Prayer provides for the use of the Te Deum and Benedictus at Mattins and the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis at Evensong, but also provides alternatives. At Evensong the alternatives - Cantate Domino and Deus Misereatur - are seldom if ever used, probably because they are Psalms and are sung in the regular cycle anyway. The Mattins alternatives are regularly set by composers and used, the Te Deum being frequently paired with the Jubilate, and the Benedicite being used in many places in conjunction with the Benedictus during Lent and Advent.

The Benedicite, with its colourful text and incessant refrain ('Praise Him and magnify Him for ever') gives the theme to this recording. Four settings are included; those by Harris, Sumsion and Jackson are well known in Cathedral repertories. The fourth setting is by James Thomas, who was Assistant Organist at Chichester from 1991 until 1997 and is currently Organist of St Edmundsbury Cathedral. When in Chichester James Thomas was also Director of Music at the Prebendal School and his Benedicite setting was commissioned in 1997 for the service commemorating the 500th anniversary of the foundation of the School.

The Te Deum and Jubilate in B minor by Tertius Noble provides a central point for the recording. Interspersed between the Mattins settings are anthems by English composers of the second half of the twentieth century.
Among composers featured are:

Stanley Taylor, who did much to champion the revival of the recorder as an instrument, was a chorister at Westminster Abbey and studied composition with Vaughan Williams and in Germany.

Anthony Foster lives in Chichester and has dedicated a number of works to the Cathedral Choir and to Alan Thurlow. His beautiful tune recorded here is a setting of words written by Mary Holtby, wife of the former Dean of Chichester.

Alan Gibbs studied organ with Conrad Eden at Durham and composition with Mateus Seiber. For many years he was Head of Music at Archbishop Tennison's Grammar School.

Basil Smallman studied at Oxford and lectured at Nottingham University before spending many years as Professor of Music at Liverpool University. He is now retired and lives in the West Country.

Alan Thurlow, June 1999

©1999 Lammas Records