Music for April and Holy Week Services

But first… a brief Peregrine update – as hoped for, a 3rd egg had been laid by the evening of Mon 24th March and incubation proper has started; but most unexpectedly I have twice glimpsed four eggs present during changeover between female and male.

Wednesday 2nd April, 7.30pm. 21st Anniversary St Michael’s Lecture. Real Bible Study, by Very Rev Jeffrey John, Dean of St Alban’s, chaired by Bp Martin Shaw. Buffet Supper. Free with voluntary donations.
21st Anniversary Lecture

Friday 4th April, 7.30pm. Concert including Music from Handel’s Messiah. We welcome the choir of the Université catholique de Louvain from Belgium. Please support this concert and hear again Handel’s meditation on the Bible story. (Free admission, retiring collection for Exeter Foodbank.)
Passiontide Concert

Sunday 6th April, Passion Sunday, 10.45am Mass. Setting: Tallis in the Dorian mode. Motet: Were you there? Trad. arr. David Ogden.

6pm Evensong and Benediction: Responses: Tallis. Psalm 30. Canticles: Weelkes short service. Anthem: Bow thine ear O Lord, Byrd. O Salutaris & Tantum Ergo: Plainsong.

Wednesday 9th April, 7.30pm, St Michael’s Recital. Tim Othen (piano). Entrance free.

Sunday 13th April, Palm Sunday, 10.30am (N.B.) Mass with Procession. The Passion narrative from the Gospel is sung. Setting: Wood in the Phrygian mode. Motet: Drop, drop slow tears, music by Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625), words by Phineas Fletcher (1582-1650).

Wednesday 16th April, Spy Wednesday, 6pm Stations of the Cross. Including Stabat Mater Dolorosa by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1710-1736) for Soprano and Alto soli.

Composed at the end of his short life while dying of TB, Pergolesi brings his baroque tunefulness and poignant suspensions to the 13th century Latin hymn meditating on the anguish and prayers of the mother of Jesus at the foot of the Cross.

Thursday 17th April, Maundy Thursday, 7.30pm Mass with Washing of Feet. Setting: Missa Brevis by Lotti. Motets: Ego Sum Panis Vivus (I am the living bread) by Byrd, O Vos Omnes (O all ye that pass by) by Victoria.

At the end of this service the High Altar is stripped. Then the Watch is kept hourly or longer through the night, recalling Christ and his disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane and then before Pontius Pilate.

Photo by Richard Barnes

Sanctuary Window – Eucharist and Passion

Friday 18th April, Good Friday 10.30am Good Friday Liturgy. Reproaches, by Upton. Veneration of the Cross. Crux Fidelis, attr. King John IV of Portugal.

Crux fidelis, inter omnes arbor una nobilis: nulla silva talem profert, fronde, flore, germine.
Dulce lignum, dulces clavos, dulce pondus sustinet.

Faithful Cross, among all, the one noble tree; no other forest offers such leaf, flower and seed. Sweet the wood, sweet the nails, sweet the weight it bears.

Part of a 6th century hymn by Venantius Fortunatus written for the procession that brought a part of the true Cross to the Frankish Queen Radegunda in 570. Interestingly, she is a patron saint of Jesus College, Cambridge, which was founded on the site of the 12th century Nunnery, and has a chapel in Exeter Cathedral named after her.

Although King John IV of Portugal (1604-1656) was an accomplished musician and composer, the Crux fidelis attributed to him cannot be traced to earlier than mid-19th century France. His extensive library was destroyed with much else in the tragic Lisbon earthquake of 1755.

Good Friday, 8pm Tenebrae – an ancient service sung in Latin and English from the West Gallery to plainsong and polyphony by Lassus (1532-1594) and Palestrina (1525-1594), ending in darkness and silence to symbolise Jesus’ descent to the dead.

Saturday 19th April, Holy Saturday 8pm – The Easter Vigil . We kindle the New Light, prepare and bless the Paschal Candles for St Michael’s and St David’s, hear the Exsultet, the proclamation of Christ’s Resurrection, and renew our Baptismal Vows. Hymn: Light’s Glittering Morn. Mass in F by Charles Wood. Out of the Stillness, by Richard Shephard.

Sunday 20th April, EASTER DAY 10.45am Mass and Blessing of the Easter Garden. Introit: This Joyful Eastertide, by Charles Wood. Setting: Mass in G, by Franz Schubert. Motet: Haec Dies, by William Byrd.

Sunday 27th April, Low Sunday, 10.45am Mass. Setting: Mass for Four Voices, by Byrd. Motet: Easter Anthem, by Billings. William Billings (1746–1800) of Boston, Massachusetts, may be regarded as the first American choral composer. His joyful Easter Anthem has echoes of Handel and was published as part of the Sacred Harp tradition of simple and sincere a cappella music.