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The anthem, Laudate Dominum, was commissioned by the Musicians Benevolent Fund in the name of Sir Thomas Armstrong, and first performed at the Service marking the Festival of Saint Cecilia in Westminster Cathedral on 23 November, 2011 by the combined choirs of Westminster Cathedral, Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s Cathedral, under the direction of Martin Baker. Another performance took place on 20 May, 2012 at St. Pancras church, London NW1, as part of the London Festival of Contemporary Church Music. The text is taken from Psalm 150.
It was with great excitement that I undertook to write the Saint Cecilia anthem for 2011 because I was able to associate the work with the government-funded programme, ‘Sing Up’. This meant that the anthem was composed a year before the Service to be part of a year-long initiative by ‘Sing Up’, working with the Choir Schools’ Association and Faber Music. The aim was to add works to the repertory which involve professional singers and include a part for children’s voices. To encourage choirs throughout the UK to sing the anthem, it was available as a download during the year and was broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s Choral Evensong from Exeter Cathedral on 5 October, 2011.
[The version performed at Westminster Cathedral was enhanced and developed, thus becoming the definitive one. This is the version now on sale through this website, not available elsewhere.]
Psalm 150 has often been set to music and I enjoyed responding to the colourful Latin words. The work has a three-part structure with musical material shared by each of the sections. The first part sets the jubilant mood, the second gives the treble voices the chance to sing an invigorating and jolly tune, and the third section becomes more reflective. It is possible to praise God in many ways and this quiet ending perhaps suggests that the overtly public show of praise with which the piece began has now become a personal and private prayer of adoration.
Ronald Corp, 2011
(You are welcome to copy and paste the programme notes – please credit the author.)