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Evensong at St Paul's Cathedral

St Paul's Cathedral, London

Sitting on top of Ludgate Hill, St. Paul’s Cathedral was built on the highest point in London.  Its dome is one of the highest of its type in the world, and the internal architecture has seen such occasions as the funerals of Lord Nelson, the Duke of Wellington, Baroness Thatcher and Sir Winston Churchill, the wedding of the Prince of Wales and Lady Spencer, and the 80th birthday and diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

The Chapel Choir of Marlborough College rose to the choral tradition that has been founded in the cathedral for over 800 years. The opening Ayleward Preces and Responses rung around the stone walls, and in such a vast space the echo seemed almost everlasting. Intelligent psalm singing followed in which the choir’s diction and consonants cut through the warm sound of the organ to great effect, portraying clearly and sensitively the text of Psalm 119.  As a former Director of Music at Marlborough College, Sir George Dyson’s Evening Service in D featured as the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis, complementing the lessons for the day. The Magnificat offered a great vitality in the choir with a wonderful balance throughout the voice parts, whilst the following Nunc Dimittis presented considered contrasts with a delicate Gloria; starting unaccompanied, this allowed the a cappella sound of the choir to resonate gently in the quire. The anthem by Charles Wood sets the text of an eminent Old Marlburian to music:  the words of Expectans Expectavi by Charles Hamilton Sorely (C1 1908-13) filled the cathedral and brought the service of choral evensong to a close, the choir finding one final intense sound to end.

A special thanks to organist Ian Crabbe, and choirmaster Alex Hodgkinson for all their hard work and dedication to the Chapel Choir at Marlborough College.

Bravo, everybody!

Adam Staines
Graduate Music Assistant, Marlborough College

Copyright 2011



Marlborough College, Bath Road, Marlborough, Wilts SN8 1PA