Music Notes for Easter V (Rogation Sunday)


Rutter_John-b1945This Sunday the Parish Choir will be singing John Rutter’s (b. 1945) setting of For the beauty of the earth. Rutter first came to public notice as an undergraduate at Clare College, Cambridge when Sir David Willcocks (1919-2015) approached him to include the Shepherds’ Pipe Carol in the second volume of fifty Carols for Choirs published by Oxford University Press. Willcocks considered him ‘the most gifted composer of his generation’. Rutter co-edited and contributed to every subsequent volume. A prolific composer of melodic and singable music for choir, and orchestral forces, Rutter is also a consummate editor. The archbishop of Canterbury (Dr Rowan Willliams) conferred upon him the Lambeth degree of Doctor of Music in 1996 and he has been the recipient of national and other professional honours, including the CBE (Commander of the British Empire) in 2007. The words For the beauty of the earth were written as a hymn by Folliott S. Pierpoint (1835-1917) at the age of 29 after being mesmerised by the countryside around him. It first appeared in 1864 in a book of Eucharistic Hymns and Poems entitled Lyra Eucharistica: Hymns and Verses on the Holy Communion, Ancient and Modern with other Poems. The reference to ‘Christ, our God to Thee we raise, This our sacrifice of praise’ ensures it is a Eucharistic hymn but it is also appropriate for Rogation Day this Sunday. It is sung here by the choir of St Paul’s Cathedral in London:

Sir Edward Elgar’s Ave verum is a simple setting of the fourteenth century Eucharistic hymn by Pope Innocent VI. Composed in January 1887 following the death of his father’s friend and Elgar’s first employer, W. A. Allen, it was originally included as part of a setting of the Requiem written for the choir of St. George’s Catholic Church in Worcester. It was revised in 1902. It is sung here by the choir of Jesus College, Cambridge:


This Sunday’s hymns reflect Rogation Day this Sunday. Hence we shall be singing:

311 All things bright and beautiful ROYAL OAK
101 O Jesus, crowned with all renown KINGSFOLD
212 Bread of Heaven on thee we feed BREAD OF HEAVEN
138 We plough the fields and scatter WIR PFLUGEN