Posts tagged ‘Three Choirs Festival’

January 24, 2016

2016-01-24 Notes from the Bench

“Communion Service in F” by Herbert Sumsion

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


Herbert Sumsion (1899-1995) was a twentieth-century English organist and composer who is best remembered for his long tenure as a cathedral musician, organist and choirmaster at Gloucester Cathedral, and for his leadership role during the annual Three Choirs Festival which takes place at Gloucester, Worcester, or Hereford Cathedrals. His career as a composer, performer, accompanist, and teacher spanned over 60 years. The majority of his works were written for choir and organ, particularly for use during the Anglican cathedral services, but later in his life, he wrote some chamber and orchestral works.

Sumsion’s “Communion Service in F” is one of four Mass setting he composed, published in 1955. Each movement is concisely written and well-proportioned for worship. He utilized a strong diatonic language with touches of modality along with elegant and fluid melodies. Sumsion’s compositional style continues the rich traditions of composers from an earlier generation, Hubert Parry and Brewer for example, while incorporating the influences of his contemporaries, Herbert Howells, Gerald Finzi, and Ralph Vaughan Williams.





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