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In the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, after the third collect of that quintessentially Anglican service, Evensong, there is the direction:In Quires and Places where they sing, an anthem may follow.
The service of Evensong is itself a hybrid, combining parts of the pre-reformation evening services of Vespers and Compline to arrive at its distinctive form, and the term anthem is a corrupt form of the word antiphon, the service of Compline ending with a sung antiphon, most usually addressed to the Virgin Mary.
Although the anthem has been one of the most important sources of composition ever since the reformation, perhaps the greatest examples date from the latter part of the 19th century and the first three decades of the 20th century.Two of the composers here had connections with Eton.
Hubert Parry, who once stood unsuccessfully for Parliament in the Liberal interest, was boy there and Henry Ley, with whose exquisite setting of the Founders Prayer this record concludes, was for many years the Colleges Precentor. In 1440 Henry VI founded Eton College in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
At the same time he founded its sister college, Kings College in Cambridge, and gave each its chapel in magnificent Perpendicular style. The Foundation of Eton College provided ten men and sixteen boys to sing the services and, with a few breaks, the choir has been singing in the chapel from then until the present day.
The choir today is formed mainly from boys of the school, about half of whom have been choristers at cathedrals or chapels before they come to Eton for their secondary education. The choral tradition is maintained by the regular singing of Even songs and school services throughout the term time. Music Scholarships are offered to enable talented boys to continue their education at Eton and many Music Scholars are members of the choir.
|1||03:06||Beati quorum via||Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924)|
|2||06:32||Like as the hart||Herbert Howells (1892-1983)|
|3||05:08||Ye Choirs of new Jerusalem||Charles Villiers Stanford|
|4||01:25||God be in my head||Philip Radcliffe (1905-1985)|
|5||04:14||I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills||Ernest Walker (1870-1949)|
|6||05:07||And I saw a new heaven||Edgar Bainton (1880-1956)|
|7||04:02||There is an old belief||C. Hubert, H. Parry (1848-1918)|
|8||07:13||Lord, thou hast been our refuge||Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)|
|9||02:47||Give us the wings of Faith||Ernest Bullock (1890-1979)|
|10||02:44||O Salutaris hostia||Edward Elgar (1857-1934)|
|11||04:33||Expectans, Expectavi||Charles Wood (1866-1926)|
|12||08:17||Blessed City, heavenly Salem||Edward Bairstow (1874-1946)|
|13||01:32||A prayer of King Henry VI||Henry Ley (1887-1962)|