The 'Third' Service* is entitled 'for the organs in F fa ut' in the so-called 'Batten' Organ Book, the work's only source. With its modestly scored verse sections and four-part chorus writing, it was almost certainly intended for Chichester. The term 'F fa ut' refers to the third hexachord of the ancient hexachord system as well as to a developing sense of tonality - here F major in modern terms - in the early seventeenth century.
Weelkes's services are notable for the musical relationships both within and between them. The 'Third' Service has similarities with his First Verse Service (Weelkes's numbering)t , notably: (i) the resemblance between the head motif, for meane soloist in the principal movements of the First Service, and the chorus soprano in the Magnificat of the 'Third' Service (but less precisely in the Nunc Dimittis); and (ii) the extended chorus writing in the section before the Gloria Patri in both Magnificats which also include dialogues between the highest and the three lower voices.The Service also includes characteristic examples of word-painting, notably between bars 69-83 of the Magnificat, and less than scrupulous use of barely disguised parallel fifths (again typically), as in bars 56-7 and 106-9 of the Magnificat and bars 3-4 and 32 of the Nunc Dimittis.
The almost invariable practice in verse anthems and services of the period was to begin with a verse section but here, unusually, both movements open with a chorus. Other examples of this rare procedure, which was to become more common later in the seventeenth century, are to be found in the Nunc Dimittis of Weelkes's 'Second' Service as well as Thomas Tomkins's Rejoice, rejoice and Henry Loosemoore's Let all the world. This edition marks the first appearance of Weelkes's 'Third' Service in print.
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