The City of London’s Livery Company Masters (including me) joined together to join the Musicians' Company Choral Evensong at St Pauls’ Cathedral on Wednesday 4th October 2017. It was a very special service, with superb music including the playing of Edward Elgar’s Elegy for Strings written for the Musicians’ Company in 1909 and performed at this service since 1914.
This is the one St Pauls’ service which is led almost entirely by music, with the Choir singing preces and responses, the psalm for that evening, the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis of the Canticles and also an anthem.
The Magnificat (My soul doth magnify the Lord) is a celebratory and revolutionary text spoken by the Virgin Mary to her cousin Elizabeth. The Nunc Dimittis (Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace), is the old man Simeon's song of fulfilment on seeing the baby Jesus in the Temple and recognising him as the Messiah. It is also a prayer for our peace and protection.
Readings from the Old and New Testaments are led by the Canon in Residence and the prayers are led by a Minor Canon. On Sundays a sermon is also preached.
Choral Evensong takes place in the stalls of the quire, towards the high altar, a space which allows the music to resonate perfectly and foster a sense of calm. As there are usually more people than can be accommodated in the quire, some also sit in the seats under the dome.
Many people are regulars at Choral Evensong and for many tourists it is a service they come especially to take part in. On the 5th October visitors had an extra spectacle, with the Livery in their gowns and extra special music!
- Keep up with WCIT news also via our Facebook page: