Info & track listings
Music for Advent and Christmas from St Matthew’s Church, Northampton
The Parish Church of St Matthew, Northampton was consecrated on St Matthew’s Day, 21 September 1893, with Canon Rowden Hussey as its first vicar. Built to a Gothic design by local architect Matthew Holding, the church is the Phipps family memorial to Mr Pickering Phipps senior 1827-1890, the head of Phipps Brewery in Northampton.
Pickering Phipps became a prominent citizen of the town, culminating in his becoming the MP from 1874-1880. He also began to develop a new ‘Phippsville’ housing estate, on a site he owned bordering the Kettering Road. Following his death, the Phipps family with munificent generosity gifted almost an acre of this land for the building of a church and vicarage for the new parish of St Matthew. His son, Pickering junior, would pay for the building at a cost of around £20,000.
From the outset, the tradition of the church was firmly Anglo-Catholic. The church quickly became known for its dignified worship and excellent music, and both were developed further in the time of Canon Rowden Hussey’s son, Walter, as the second Vicar. The latter commissioned for the church, often at extraordinarily low cost, an outstanding succession of fine works of art.
Henry Moore’s sculpture Madonna and Child and Graham Sutherland’s painting Crucifixion are the most tangible evidence in the church of Hussey’s remarkable foresight and taste. Alongside this, Benjamin written wrote his Festival Cantata Rejoice in the Lamb for St Matthew’s to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the church’s consecration, and since then many other composers, including Gerald Finzi, Edmund Rubbra, Lennox Berkeley, Malcolm Arnold, Kenneth Leighton and, most recently, David Bednall and Paul Mealor, have penned music for the church.
Renowned for its music making and commissioning of new compositions, literature & art, these elements have combined to make St Matthew’s a significant cultural influence within this country and further field. This tradition continues to the present day, and St Matthew’s remains a sought-after venue for the performing arts. A number of radio and television broadcasts have been made from the church, and most recently St Matthew’s has featured in the BBC4 series ‘Churches: How to read them’, and ‘Modern British Masters 1900-1975’.
The present Choir consists of mixed boy and girl choristers aged between eight and eighteen who are supported by a dedicated back row of mixed men and women of all ages. The large repertoire of the choir enables it to enhance the worship at St Matthew’s on a weekly basis and perform music to an exceptionally high standard to the Glory of God.
St Matthew’s also is home to a fine four manual organ, built by Messrs J W Walker & Sons in 1895. It is now of great historical importance. Recently restored, the organ ideally complements its environment and the worship it accompanies.
|1||02:48||Matin Responsory||attrib. Palestrina ed. Cleobury|
|2||04:46||O come, O come, Emmanuel||Trad|
|3||02:29||The truth from above||English trad|
|4||02:12||Thou shalt know him when he comes||Mark Sirett|
|5||02:27||How beautiful upon the mountains||John Stainer|
|6||02:27||Es ist ein Ros enstprungen||Johannes Brahms|
|7||02:06||There is no Rose||John Joubert|
|8||02:18||Zion at thy shining gates||George Guest|
|9||02:09||Ding dong! Merrily on high||French trad, arr. Mack Wilberg|
|10||03:05||Jesus Christ the apple tree||Elizabeth Poston|
|11||04:02||O Little town of Bethlehem||Harm. Vaughan Williams v3 Harm. John Holt|
|12||08:09||The Angel Gabriel||arr. Pettman|
|13||05:45||Sweet was the song (1967 Commission)||Richard Rodney Bennett|
|14||06:35||Meditations on Silent Night||Purcell J Mansfield|
|15||04:08||O come all ye faithful||Harm and Dec. Willcocks|
|16||03:17||My Lord has come||Will Todd|
|18||03:18||Hark ! The herald angels sing||Medelssohn Desc. Willcocks|
|19||06:50||Carillon de Westminster||Louis Vierne|