O Sing unto the Lord

O Sing unto the Lord : A History of English Church Music

4.11 (43 ratings by Goodreads)
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Andrew Gant's compelling account traces English church music from Anglo-Saxon origins to the present. It is a history of the music and of the people who made, sang and listened to it. It shows the role church music has played in ordinary lives and how it reflects those lives back to us. The author considers why church music remains so popular and frequently tops the classical charts and why the BBC's Choral Evensong remains the longest-running radio series ever. He shows how England's church music follows the contours of its history and is the soundtrack of its changing politics and culture, from the mysteries of the Mass to the elegant decorum of the Restoration anthem, from stern Puritanism to Victorian bombast, and thence to the fractured worlds of the twentieth century as heard in the music of Vaughan Williams and Britten. This is a book for everyone interested in the history of English music, culture and society.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 352 pages
  • 159 x 242 x 42mm | 865g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Main
  • 1781252475
  • 9781781252475
  • 219,209

Review Text

No-one is better qualified to write on the subject of English Church Music than an ex-Organist of the Chapel Royal. Steeped in the tradition, Andrew Gant has researched deeply into his subject, bringing a wonderfully lively account of one of our greatest stories to the written page. Peter Phillips
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Review quote

No-one is better qualified to write on the subject of English Church Music than an ex-Organist of the Chapel Royal. Steeped in the tradition, Andrew Gant has researched deeply into his subject, bringing a wonderfully lively account of one of our greatest stories to the written page. -- Peter Phillips The time is right for a new overall picture of English Church Music, particularly one taking into account the excellent new repertoire that has appeared over the last thirty or so years. Andrew Gant has provided a comprehensive and thoughtful survey that is also eminently readable. -- James Bowman You might be forgiven for thinking a book on this scholarly topic might be a dry read. However, I am captivated by Andrew Gant's warmth and evident joy, whilst conveying an extraordinarily thorough treatment of English church music's history. -- Roxanna Panufnik In O Sing Unto the Lord: A History of English Church Music Andrew Gant, church musician to his fingertips, traces the history of the music we all reach for at important moments in our lives: his love of this imperishable repertoire, breadth of research and stylish, approachable writing add up to an indispensable guide to a great tradition - and a very good read. -- Catherine Bott, Presenter, Classic FM As a former director of choirs at the Chapel Royal and the Guards' Chapel, Gant has false relations and diminished fourths, not to mention hockets, coming out of his professional fingertips. He also has an infectious desire to make sure that we, the congregation, derive as much pleasure from them as he does ... This is a story of church music that celebrates the sheer pleasure of raising a joyful sound to the Lord -- Kathryn Hughes * Guardian * Making sense of English church music's relationship to the turbulent history of English Christianity is hard enough, but Andrew Gant manages to combine this with a lively survey of the music itself. Forbidding technical terms are described in a deft way that makes us curious to hear the music ... As for the current state of English church music, Gant is refreshingly optimistic. -- Ivan Hewett * Daily Telegraph * Excellent...This authoritative and engaging history brings...light and warmth to the subject * The Sunday Times * O Sing unto the Lord is an illuminating and entertaining history [...], stretching back well over a millennium. Drawing on his own extensive experience as choirmaster at the Chapel Royal, Andrew Gant covers this vast territory in breezy, unbuttoned fashion, without recourse to pedantry or jargon. * Literary Review * Praise for Christmas Carols:

'Andrew Gant provides us with a fluent but flinty digest of the modern scholarship concerning twenty-two of our favourite seasonal songs. * Guardian * Gant's detective-story accounts of twenty-two Christmas melodies is a delight * Sunday Times * An illuminating and entertaining history ... Gant's Tiggerish enthusiasm for digging into nooks and crannies is infectious. -- Rupert Christiansen * Literary Review * Gant provides such theological context as is necessary ... and engages in much helpful anecdote about the composers ... highly informative ... [The reader] will learn much: about the development of choirs and choir schools, about the assistance that the architecture of great cathedrals or buildings such as the chapel of King's College, Cambridge, gives to poor singing and playing through a sympathetic acoustic, about how the barrel-organ was once the staple of parish churches and, inevitably, about how the Victorians transformed everything. -- Simon Heffer * Spectator * Gant writes with cheerfulness and fluency, invoking all sorts of interesting historical and political notes ... enjoyable -- Kate Green * Country Life *
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About Andrew Gant

Andrew Gant is a composer, choirmaster, church musician, university teacher and writer. He has directed many leading choirs including The Guards' Chapel, Worcester College Oxford, and Her Majesty's Chapel Royal. He lectures in Music at St Peter's College in Oxford, where he lives with his wife and their three children. His books for Profile are Christmas Carols andO Sing Unto the Lord.
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Rating details

43 ratings
4.11 out of 5 stars
5 35% (15)
4 44% (19)
3 19% (8)
2 2% (1)
1 0% (0)
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