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Faith in Choral Music


St Clement’s is currently running a series of evening services exploring how Christian faith is expressed through various arts. I am talking on 2 June about painting but tonight’s one was on choral music, led by our rector, Revd Bruce Gillingham.

I was leading the service, which presented certain challenges, particularly what you sing as a small congregation when you are going to be listening to such amazing (recorded) choirs. Most of the time though, my contribution was playing DJ at the sound desk, cueing up and playing tracks from the CDs Bruce had brought along as he led us through a number of examples of choral music written for liturgical use, Kyries, Magnicats and the like.

I was listening to Radio 1 a few days ago and it struck me that there is a certain similarity with a lot of the modern music that was being played, in that the songs often consisted of just a word or a sentence repeated round and round. Music from the choral tradition might not have such a pronounced beat but, in the comparison, clearly stands out as a much more sublime approach. Timeless rather than, frankly, throwaway.

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