By Erik Routley, Eric Routley, Lionel Dakers
Starting from the medieval interval to the current day, it is a short heritage of church tune because it has constructed during the English culture. defined as "a fast journey", it offers a extensive ancient survey instead of an in-depth research of the topic, and likewise predicts most likely destiny tendencies.
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Extra resources for A Short History of English Church Music
But of course it led to triviality, and to the acceleration of that degeneracy which we mentioned in the previous chapter—abundant rhetoric, precious little reason. But another and very significant thing was happening to music when it got into the hands of people who were more zealous than scrupulous. This—and the process went on more or less unchecked until 1900—was the assimilation to the contemporary style of music written in other traditions and other musical vocabularies. The reader may care to look at the two following examples: the first is from a collection edited by George Whitefield in about 1753, the other from the Lock Hospital Book of 1769: It is possible to recognize the Passion Chorale behind the second, but the presence of Tallis's Canon behind the first is perhaps more elusive.
This is, of course, William Merbecke. Nothing of his composition has survived apart from two Latin motets, a Mass, and the Book of Common Prayer Noted. But in that last-named work, he made A Crisis of Cultures 2 7 himself a household name wherever the English rite was sung, especially during the twentieth century when the Eucharist found its way back to the centre of parish worship. Apparently his work was little used in his own time. It consisted of the setting to music of all the singable parts of the Prayer Book rites of Morning and Evening Prayer and of the Eucharist, as set out in the 1549 Prayer Book.
The whole piece is full of densely-contrived music, but the really remarkable thing about it is its composer's exercise of imagination. He was brought up as a chorister in Wren's St Paul's, and he imagines himself there as he is composing his setting: exploiting the legendary echo with long periods of musical • The music of the English Church, Hodder 8c Stoughton, 1972. 41 42 A Short History of English Church Music silence—used with consummate skill at the great climax, bars 75-87, in which there are four half-bar silences for the whole choir, and two whole-bar silences; this dramatic effect, reinforced with ruthless chromaticisms, is contrasted with a flowing counterpoint, with beautifully timed voice-entries, in the rest of the piece.