Sunday, 17 December 2017

17th December 2017 Advent 3

"This is the record of John" Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625)

This is typical anthem of its time.  It is based on text from the Gospel of John (1:19 -23) and refers to John the Baptist.  It is divided into 3 sections each starting with solo countertenor followed by SATB chorus echoing the words of the soloist. Although usually performed on organ or viol, today Joanna Chivers (our Director of Music) played an electric piano on "harpsichord" mode which added an "early music" feel to the piece.

The anthem was written at the request of William Laud, president of St John's College, Oxford.

Gibbons sang in he choir of Kings College Cambridge between 1598 and 1598, where his eldest brother was master of the choristers. He gained his Bachelor of Music in 1606. King James 1 appointed him a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal, and he was organist there from around 1615 until his death, being senior organist from 1623. He was also a keyboard player in the privy chamber of Prince Charles (later Charles 1) and organist at Westminster Abbey. He died suddenly at the age of 41.

He wrote a large number of pieces for keyboard, madrigals and many verse anthems of which "This is the record of John" is one.

Orlando  Gibbons [Wikimedia commons]

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