St Bride's: Music

Repertoire

The majority of Sunday service music is drawn from what may be termed the "standard" Anglican cathedral repertoire, from Tallis and Byrd, through Purcell and the Victorians to Howells and Britten.

There is a slight bias towards the Romantic era, simply because it is best suited to our singers, organ and acoustics, but more obscure works are not neglected - our custom of singing more extended pieces at Evensong on the 2nd and 4th Sundays every month as a "Sermon in Music" enables us to explore a wide variety of music.

One feature rarely found elsewhere is the use of English language settings of the traditional Communion service - the settings by Ireland, Darke, Stanford and others are worth regular hearing, especially as we are able to alternate them with the Latin settings standard in most cathedral-type establishments today.

Contemporary liturgical music is not forgotten - and works have been commissioned in recent years from Bob Chilcott (the anthem Beauty for Ashes for the 50th anniversary service of the rededication, held in 2007), Judith Bingham, Matthew Martin and Nicholas O'Neill.

Music for special services is often considerably more adventurous.

Operatic choruses such as Verdi's Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves and Mascagni's Easter Hymn have become almost standard (the latter has also found its way into liturgical use on Easter Sunday morning) and the expertise of our singers means that operatic solos and ensembles are also possible.

Another St Bride's tradition is the use of arrangements of secular songs with a particular significance to the occasion - one of the first examples of this was the singing of I'm forever blowing bubbles at the memorial service for a West Ham supporter (this has now been adopted by the Stationers' Company as an "anthem" at their annual service on the theme "Life is a bubble") and many others have followed.

Some of the most successful were recorded by the choir on a disc entitled "Nobody does it better," and one of the great joys of working with such a musical and versatile group of singers is that we can turn our hand to almost anything!