June at St Michael’s

June has a host of interesting lesser days. There’s also the brilliant VOCES8 visit on Friday 19th June, with Lunch & Workshop and/or Recital options available, so we look forward to seeing you at St Michael’s.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Plainsong Vespers & Meditation take place at 6pm.

Thurs 4th June, Corpus Christi, 7.30pm; Sung Mass with procession of the Blessed Sacrament around Mount Dinham. Setting: Tallis ‘Dorian’ Mass. Anthem: Byrd ‘Ave verum corpus’.
Corpus Christi Procession 2013
The Feast of Corpus Christi was first celebrated in Liège, Belgium, in 1246 after some 40 years of lobbying by St Juliana who longed for a feast day outside of Lent in honour of the Blessed Sacrament. It was adopted for the whole Roman church in 1264. Scholars now recognize Juliana as author and composer of an initial sung version of the Latin office. St Thomas Aquinas formalised the Office for Pope Urban IV, leading both to developments in doctrine and to growth in his spiritual devotion.

Fri 5th – St Boniface, born c.675 in Crediton (possibly), studied in Exeter, worked as missionary and bishop in what is now northern Germany, martyred in 754 at Dokkum in the Netherlands, and buried in Fulda, which St Michael’s Choir visited in August 2012, where a splendid baroque cathedral now covers his shrine. This is a panel on the Exeter Cathedral Nave Pulpit.
St Boniface - Exeter Cathedral
Sun 7th June Trinity I, 10.45am; Sung Mass. Setting: John Merbecke’s Booke of Common Praier Noted (1550). Anthem: Our conversation is in Heaven, by Exeter born Walter Bond Gilbert.

Sun 7th June 6pm Evensong & Benediction – Reading Responses, Psalm 37 vv11-17, Canticles – Stanford in G, with the soaring Treble solo in the Magnificat and sonorous Baritone in the Nunc Dimittis. Anthem – Viadana ‘Exultate Justi’. Plainsong Hymns.
Praying the Angelus
Tuesday 9th June is my best estimate for the fledging of our 2 young Peregrine, but it could be a day or two either side, and one may be more adventurous than the other.
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Thursday 11th June 6pm, CBS Mass for St Barnabas Day. Although not one of the original Twelve, Barnabas is named an Apostle by virtue of his work with St Paul and then with John Mark in the missionary journeys recorded in Acts spreading the Gospel across the Mediterranean from Jerusalem to Rome. Tradition has it he founded the (Cypriot Orthodox) Church in Cyprus, and, less likely, that his brother Aristobulus was the first Bishop of Roman Britain, possibly at Glastonbury.

Sun 14th June Trinity II, 10.45; Sung Mass. Setting: Leighton in D. Anthem: Howells ‘Mine eyes for beauty pine’.

Monday 15th June at 7.30pm – Salzburg Connections, a Concert of early-Classical sacred choral music by Exeter Chorale, accompanied by instrumentalists. There was a remarkable conjunction of young musical talent in Salzburg in the 1760s. This concert features lively, elegant music by three composers who probably knew each other – Michael Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the lesser-known Bonifaz Stöckl. Tickets £8 (£6 conc) on the door.

Tues 16th – St Richard of Chichester, 1253, famous for the Prayer – “Thanks be to Thee, my Lord Jesus Christ, For all the benefits Thou hast given me, For all the pains and insults Thou hast borne for me. O most merciful Redeemer, friend and brother, May I know Thee more clearly, Love Thee more dearly, Follow Thee more nearly” (day by day) – itself better known in the 1970s as one of the songs from Stephen Schwartz’s musical Godspell.

Friday 19th June, VOCES8 at St Michael’s.
VOCES8 slide
1pm-4pm; Buffet Lunch & Choral Workshop with Voces8, Tickets £10 (£7 conc), please book this in advance (online at http://stmichaelsrecitals.ticketsource.co.uk/events  or contact Alex West) to help with catering and planning.

7.30pm; Concert by Voces8; hear these brilliant and versatile young singers performing. Tickets £15 (£12 conc) on the door or online as above. (£3 reduction for both events). They really are exceptional – don’t miss it!

Sat 20th June at 4.45pm in St John’s Church, Newton Road, Bovey Tracey, TQ13 9BD, the Choir is pleased to be singing Choral Evensong with the Exeter Branch of the Prayer Book Society.

Sun 21st June, Music Sunday, 10.45am; Mass Setting – Missa “Ego flos campi” for double choir by Juan Gutiérrez de Padilla (ca. 1590-1664), a Spanish composer in what is modern Mexico. Anthem – Lauda Jerusalem by Monteverdi (1567-1643) for double SAB plus Tenor Cantus.
Choir - May 2014
Mon 22nd June at 7.30pm, a Concert by the Choir of Queen’s College, Oxford, directed by Owen Rees, featuring the Requiem by Gabriel Faure and other choral masterpieces. Admission free – retiring collection.

Wed 24th June 7.30pm St Michael’s Lecture Speaker to be announced.

Sun 28th June, Trinity IV 10.45am; Sung Mass. Setting – Lotti ‘Missa brevis’. Anthem – Harris ‘Holy is the true light’.

Monday 29th June – 7.30pm at St Michael’s, a Concert by the Selwyn College Consort from Cambridge, performing music on the themes of Life, Death & Beyond.
This day is also the anniversary (year’s mind) of the tragic death of Revd Dr John Hughes, former Curate of this Parish and Dean of Jesus College, Cambridge.

Note that on Sunday 5th July at 5pm, the Choir of St Michael’s has been invited to sing Evensong at St Martin’s Church in Exeter Cathedral Close as they celebrate the 950th Anniversary of this ancient city centre place of worship, now cared for by the Churches Conservation Trust. Please join us. This will replace our normal 1st Sunday Evensong & Benediction.
With so much music in June, I thought I’d reprise my little guide to how music by choir and congregation fits together at St Michael’s with the work of clergy and servers in our Sung Mass. I find five musical strands woven into a colourful, joyful cord.
(i) Organ Music – Sets the mood, underpins much of the worship, covers movement, and the Voluntary helps us go forth rejoicing.

(ii) Hymns – Just 3 for the opening Procession, the Offertory and a closing Recessional, because at St Michael’s we continue to use…

(iii) Plainsong Propers – These are verses from the Psalms or other Scripture, sung at 4 points in the service. They are printed so that the congregation can join with the choir in response to the Cantor. The chants are the same each week, so they soon become familiar. These used to fit with the Prayer Book readings for the day, but with the Revised Lectionary that’s not always the case.

(iv) Music for All – The 3 great statements of Faith – the Gloria, the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer – are sung by all. We use the Anglican Folk Mass, composed in 1919 by Martin Shaw for St Mary’s, Primrose Hill, London, a great Anglo-catholic liturgical testing ground, and John Merbecke’s music for the Lord’s Prayer, written in 1550 for Cranmer’s First Prayer Book but seldom used until the Victorians rediscovered it.

(v) Music from the Choir – This is the spice in the mix, giving a distinctive flavour to each service without overpowering it. The short movements of the Mass – Kyrie (Lord, have mercy), Sanctus (Holy), Benedictus (Blessed is he) and Agnus Dei (O Lamb of God) – are sung to one of a dozen or so settings we have in our repertoire. Those from earlier times are in Latin, while those from the more recent flourishing of Anglican church music will be in English. After Communion there is an Anthem, again chosen to illustrate the day.
Chancel full view
With its beautiful architecture, decoration and wonderful acoustic, St Michael’s is perfect for plainsong, soaring vocal lines and emotive organ music. With fine liturgy, thoughtful preaching, splendid vestments and clouds of incense, you can worship God with all your senses.

The choir is always happy to welcome new singers, whether regular or occasional; choir practice is on Tuesdays at 7pm.

Richard Barnes.