Church Music

Saw a terrible documentary on the tellybox last Friday evening about the choir at York Minster. The staff seemed a bit tired and the children of the choir who were featured in the programme were obviously miserable, overworked and not having any fun at all. What’s the point of music that makes people miserable?

Oh, and the editing of the documentary was dreadful – someone was seen censing an altar during a psalm during which a congregation appeared to be singing from the New English Hymnal. Most gloriously, someone was playing arpeggios on a piano and I could have sworn that as her hands moved up the piano, a descending arpeggio was to be heard with the rising notes coming as her hands moved back down the keyboard.

Anyway, no miserable music, nor miserable choristers here, so far as I could tell on Sunday. We were treated to a Howard Goodall version of Love Divine, which actually did send shivers up and down my spine. (Or down and up if you were watching the BBC edit). The anthem at Evensong was a William Matthias piece which seemed to me to be the noise a tamborine would make if it could sing.


  1. Couldn’t agree more Kelvin – it was awful – and my mood was not helped any because it was shown in Scotland in place of having earlier coverage of the Ryder Cup as they did in other places! I though the Master of Music was a particularly grim figure and not all that inspiring of the young. No wonder many of them after 6 years under his regime were screaming to get out the door as soon as they could.

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