In this fast-changing and often unsettling world, I imagine I’m not alone in finding great comfort in the words of the traditional Choral Evensong which have been spoken or sung in churches, chapels and cathedrals for centuries. As the mother of two choristers, I have had the joy of attending evensong at St John’s College, Cambridge, several times a week and of hearing many different composers’ settings of each part of the service. From the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis to the Preces and Responses, every moment of Choral Evensong offers us all that much-needed opportunity for stillness and reflection.
I was delighted to receive a commission from the organist and choirmaster of Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Southern Pines, North Carolina, USA, Dr Homer Ashton Ferguson III, for a set of Preces and Responses to mark his 10th anniversary. Compared with our rich heritage of settings by male composers, there are relatively few settings by female composers of this part of evensong, which has proved a challenge for those forward-thinking choral directors who have pledged to include at least one piece by a woman in each service.
My setting is, I hope, not too challenging for a typical parish church choir. I began my choral life as a member of such a choir and, although I went on to become a professional singer, I very much believe in writing the kind of music which can be sung by amateur singers and enjoyed by congregations. It is also the kind of setting which, for a professional collegiate or cathedral choir who might be learning music for up to six services a week, can be slotted in without too much preparation.
Preces from Preces and Responses by Joanna Forbes L'Estrange
Stanford: Purest and highest (Low key D flat)
Shephard: Never weather-beaten sail
Gowers: Aveto Augustine
Sanders: St Mark Passion
Lucas: Five simple carols in two parts
Archer: Would you know your Lord's meaning in this?
Rizza: Mass of Saint Benedict New Translation of Roman Missal Edition
Tomkins: Evening Service - The First Service
Shephard: Mass of the Nativity
King of Glory, King of Peace - Festival Service Book 2018
Shephard: Let us light a candle
Stanford: Communion Service in B flat (edited by Jeremy Dibble)
West: Te Deum in C
Psalms for Singers: 26 responsorial psalms for congregational use.
Harris: Simple Communion in F
Sumsion: A song of triumph
On Maundy Thursday
Light on the Way
Tallis: Suscipe quaeso Domine
Madden: We will remember them
Hewitt Jones: Born in Bethlehem
William Godfree: Requiem, part for Horn I
Wesley: Who can express? (U)
Water of Life - Young Voices Festival
Other products in this Category
Tudor Preces and Responses
Forbes L'Estrange, J: The St Helen's Service Vocal Score
Clucas: Preces and Responses
Shephard: Responses for Upper Voices (SSAA)
RSCM Anthems for Sopranos, Altos and Unison Men
Ellis: The Morland Responses
Nardone: Preces & Responses
Forbes L'Estrange: Carol of the Crib
Forbes L'Estrange: God the Holy Trinity (printed version)
Ayleward: The Preces and Responses (SATB) (ed. Gittins)
Forbes L'Estrange: Advent O Carol
English Church Music, Volume 2: Canticles and Responses