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Weelkes: Jubilate Deo ÔÇô eighth service

Weelkes: Jubilate Deo ÔÇô eighth service

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Choral leaflet

£2.10

Publisher: Cathedral Press
ISBN: CP5

The so-called Eighth Service* by Thomas Weelkes is familiar through its evening canticles in reconstructions by Edmund Fellowes and, more recently, David Wulstan. The Service also includes morning canticles (Te Deum and Jubilate Deo); this edition marks the first appearance in print of the Jubilate. An organ part is all that remains but, fortunately, this is unusually detailed so the movements may be reconstructed with an unusual degree of confidence. In scope the Service occupies a position between the economy of the typical 'short' service and the expansiveness of the 'great' service, so it constitutes a distinctive contribution to the genre. It is a setting of high musical quality in which an admirable balance is achieved between contrapuntal interest and the requirement of the liturgy to achieve textual clarity and conciseness.

The four movements have a number of elements in common, notably the use of a head-motif (except in the Nunc Dimittis) as well as a tail-motif, while each canticle has a section for four high voices in close imitation and exploiting antiphony (in the impressive Te Deum there are three such sections). The opening recalls the composer's All people, clap your hands while the closing ones are echoed in the final bars of the anthem O how amiable; such cross-references are typical of Weelkes. Both anthems, like the Service, are for SAATB chorus.

A note in the index of Thomas Barnard's important printed collection of Anglican liturgical music Selected Church Musick (1641) indicates that some canticles as well as festal psalms were 'many times sung instead of Anthems' in the seventeenth century. The pieces listed include two settings, by Giles and Strogers, of J ubilate Deo. There is therefore an historical precedent for performing works such as this Jubilate as an anthem.

This edition marks the first appearance of the Jubilate Deo from Weelkes' Eighth Service in print.