For Easter I the Parish Choir will be singing Philip Wilby’s (b. 1949) setting of A Prayer for St Thomas as the Offertory Anthem. This is a beautiful modern but melodic work written for voices, organ and soprano solo. The words, which are in the form of a collect or short prayer, are as follows:
Ever-living God Who didst strengthen thine Apostle Thomas
With sure and certain faith in thy Son’s Resurrection;
Grant us so perfectly and without doubt to believe in Jesus Christ our Lord and God;
That our faith may never be found wanting in thy sight;
Through him who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Spirit,
One God now and forever. Amen.
A digest of Wilby’s career to date was included in the Music Notes for Holy Week.
During the distribution of Communion, the choir will sing English poet laureate, Robert Bridges’s (1844-1930) famous poem, Jesu, joy of man’s desiring set to music by J. S. Bach (1685-1750). Bridges’s work was inspired by the hymn ‘Jesu meiner Seelen Wonne’ (‘Jesu, joy of my soul’) composed in 1642 by Johann Schop (c. 1590-1667). Bach composed two versions of his cantata, Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben BWV 147 (‘Heart and mouth and deed and life’), one in Weimar in 1716, and a second for the Thomaskirche in Leipzig in 1723. The music for Jesu, joy of man’s desiring comes from the second version of the work and is the tenth and final movement of the cantata, written for voices, trumpet, oboes, strings, and continuo (organ and violoncello).