Music Notes: Feast of Dedication

The Feast of Dedication commemorates the anniversary of the dedication of St. Thomas’ Church.



Sir Hubert Parry (1848-1918)              I was glad

parry-hubert-1848-1918Parry’s setting of Psalm 122 (vv. 1-3; 6,7) was written in 1902 for the coronation of King Edward VII in Westminster Abbey. Psalm 122 has been sung at every coronation of a British monarch since the reign of Charles I. The version the choir will be singing this morning includes the additional and famous introduction, which Parry added when he revised the work for the coronation of King George V in 1911. The Vivats (‘Vivat Rex Georgius’ or ‘Vivat Regina Elizabetha’) are only to be sung by the scholars of Westminster School, who by right, sing at coronation services.

Parry was at the height of his powers at the start of the twentieth century. He was professor of music at Oxford University, a post he combined with being professor of composition and music history at London’s Royal College of Music (RCM). The Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, had been instrumental in founding the RCM in 1883; by the start of the twentieth century, it had become renowned as the standard to which other, new conservatoires, such as New York’s Juilliard School of Music, aspired. During his time at the RCM Parry’s pupils included Ralph Vaughan Williams, Gustav Holst, Frank Bridge, and John Ireland.

A recording of I was glad sung by the choir of King’s College, Cambridge under the direction of Stephen Cleobury may be found here:

Note: the organ scholar on this recording is Daniel Hyde, the new Organist and Director of Music at St. Thomas, Fifth Avenue in New York City.

Anton Bruckner                        Locus iste

bruckner-anton-1824-1896Composed in 1869 and first performed on 29 October the same year (along with Bruckner’s Mass in E minor), Locus iste was written for the dedication of the votivkapelle (Votive Chapel) at the New Cathedral in Linz in Austria, where Bruckner had been cathedral organist. The text is the Latin Gradual, Locus iste a Deo factus est (This place was made by God) and is part of the Kirchweih or annual Feast of Dedication. It is written for four voices (SATB) and was published alongside three other Gradual motets: Christus factus est pro nobis, Os Iusti, and Virga Iesse. Locus iste is dedicated to one of Bruckner’s students at the Vienna Conservatoire, Oddo Loidol.

A recording, sung by The Sixteen and directed by Harry Christophers may be found here:

PSALM 84 (Anglican Chant by Sir Hubert Parry)

A recording of Psalm 84 sung by the choir of King’s College, Cambridge may be found here: 


527      Onward Christian soldiers                                  ST. GERTRUDE

156      Awake, awake to love and work                          MORNING SONG

398      We love the place, O God                                  QUAM DILECTA

384      Christ is made the sure foundation                    WESTMINSTER ABBEY


Dr Giles Brightwell