Posts tagged ‘Collegium Regale’

March 12, 2017

2017-03-12 Notes from the Bench


“Collegium Regale” by Herbert Howells

A commentary on this week’s music by Dr. James T. Gerber, Music Associate


For our second Sunday Choral Evensong, the All Saints’ Chamber Choir will sing the evening canticles, Magnificat and Nunc dimittis, from the “Collegium Regale” service by the twentieth-century English composer, organist, and teacher, Herbert Norman Howells (1892-1983). Howells is famous for his large output of Anglican church music that include anthems and service music. In additional to his many choral works, Howells composed music for orchestra, chamber ensemble, organ, and piano.

“Collegium Regale” is a set of service music composed for King’s College in Cambridge. The complete service includes the Morning Canticles, completed in 1944, the Evening Canticles for Evensong, completed in 1945, and the Communion service (which our Chamber Choir will be singing for our fourth Sunday Choral Eucharist later this month), completed in 1956. Howells developed a template in sound with thematic and harmonic elements carried over through each of the movements to give continuity to the entire set of service music. This work was initiated as the result of Howells winning a bet from the Dean of King’s College. King’s College is renown for its tradition of excellence in the field of Anglican sacred music; the chapel is noted for its splendid acoustics and their chapel choir with choral scholars and choristers is world-famous, singing for services, concert, recordings and live broadcasts. The annual Nine Lessons and Carols service held in the chapel is broadcast on the BBC and around the world to millions of radio listeners and television viewers.



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