Manchester, 14th-18th July 2004


Bryan White (University of Leeds, UK)

Sacred music for London St Cecilia's Day celebrations

The annual celebrations of St Ceciliaís Day in London held during the last two decades of the seventeenth century have been frequently noted by scholars.  Most of this attention has been focussed upon the series of odes composed for performance at the yearly feast held at Stationerís Hall.  Less attention has been devoted to the services that preceded the feast in the years between 1693 and 1700, held at St Brideís church on all but one occasion.  This paper will briefly present the documentary evidence surrounding these services, including records from St. Brideís, printed sermons and newspaper accounts.  It will then examine the nascent series of sacred compositions written for these services.  The first of these, Purcellís Te Deum and Jubilate of 1694, is one of his best known works, while Blowís setting of 1695, though widely noted, has received little specific attention.  Least known of all is Turnerís setting of 1696, which appears in a manuscript in the Henry Watson Music Library in Manchester.  When Purcellís Te Deum and Jubilate were repeated in 1697, Turner offered a new symphony anthem with trumpets, The King Shall Rejoice, the last new work that can be confidently attached to these services. The relationship between the four works in this series will be discussed with particular attention given to the ways in which Blow and Turner responded to Purcellís setting.

Last updated on 30 May 2004