Posts tagged ‘Herbert Norman Howells’

March 3, 2013

2013-03-03 Notes from the Bench

“Like as the Hart Desireth the Waterbrooks” by Herbert Howells
A commentary on this week’s music by Dr. James Gerber, Music Associate

“Like as the Hart Desireth the Waterbrooks” was written in January, 1941 and is one of four anthems originally titled “In Time of War,” but now simply known as “Four Anthems.” “O Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem,” which was sung last week, is also one of the anthems from this set. These anthems were composed while London was under German air assault during World War II and many residents were confined to their homes or bomb shelters.

“Like as the Hart” is based on Psalm 42: 1-3, and is among his best-known church anthems and part of the standard Anglican choral repertoire. The lyrical melodies and quiet intensity contribute to the beautiful and rhapsodic qualities of this anthem that is enduring and mysteriously foreboding. Herbert Howell’s music engages our human emotions, our questions, our doubts and allows us to experience the feelings of ambiguity, longing distress, and anguish that convey the meaning of the text.

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