Join Us for Lenten Evensong

by Derek E. Nickels, DMA, Director of Music

Praying the Daily Offices of Morning and Evening Prayer has long been considered by many to form the basis of Anglican spirituality. In the sixteenth century, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556), combined two daily monastic services (Vespers and Compline) and put them in a book to be used by both clergy and laity alike, The Book of Common Prayer. Our annual Lenten Evensong is fast approaching on Sunday, March 12th at 5:00 p.m. This year's service will include the Magnificat and Nunc dimittis in D major, by the English composer Charles Hubert Hastings Parry and selections from Part Two of George Frederic Handel's famous Messiah.

The English Victorian composer, scholar and teacher, Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry, is probably best known as the composer of his famous anthem "I was glad," which was composed for the coronation of Edward VII in 1902.  It has been sung at every coronation since, and, more recently, was the processional for the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011. Parry's Evening Canticles in D major (or Magnificat and Nunc dimittis) were written around 1883 and have a challenging and elaborate organ accompaniment.

The high point of 18th century English choral music was reached when George Frederic Handel (1685-1759), the German-born master of Italian opera, settled in London. Although he composed a multitude of operas, it is the English oratorio for which Handel is best-known. Out of the 30 oratorios that Handel skillfully composed, Messiah is the most beloved and famous.  Composed during an extremely short period of time of three weeks on Biblical texts compiled by Charles Jennens, Messiah was first performed at the Music Hall in Dublin, Ireland on April 13, 1742. The work is divided into three sections: the first devoted to the prophesies of Isaiah and the birth of Christ, the second devoted to the Passion, and the third devoted to the Resurrection.