Music Notes for Reformation Sunday



Te Deum in F by John Ireland (1879-1962)

ireland-john-1879-1962The Te Deum in F was written in 1907 for the men and boys choir of St. Luke’s Parish Church, in Chelsea, for whom the vast majority of Ireland’s church music output was written. The choir at St. Luke’s was one of a number of such choirs in London that sang daily services of Choral Evensong in the English cathedral tradition. The work was dedicated to the Rector, The Rev’d Henry E. Bevan (1854-1935). Structurally, it follows Ireland’s teacher, Sir Charles Villiers Stanford’s Te Deum in B flat, though it is simpler in tonal ingenuity than Stanford’s earlier work. Ireland was a student at the Royal College of Music under Stanford and himself went on to take on the post of professor of composition, teaching Benjamin Britten.


Thou knowest Lord, the secrets of our hearts Henry Purcell (1659-1695)

purcell-henry-1659-1695Purcell’s simple and succinct setting of the text, Thou knowest, Lord, the secrets of our hearts is a setting of words from Funeral Sentences from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer and was written in the last year of the composer’s life to be sung at the funeral of Queen Mary in 1695 in Westminster Abbey, where he was organist. The music, almost all note-against-note without contrapuntal elaboration, unfolds with dignity and pathos.


551 A mighty fortress is our God EIN FESTE BURG
449 My faith looks up to thee OLIVET
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine ASSURANCE