O Sing unto the Lord

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

4.14 (27 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.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 464 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 28mm | 396g
  • Profile Books Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Main
  • Two 8 page plate sections. One black and white, one color.
  • 1781252483
  • 9781781252482
  • 61,926

Review quote

Excellent ... This authoritative and engaging history brings ... light and warmth to the subject * Sunday Times * A wonderfully lively account of one of our greatest stories -- Peter Phillips An illuminating and entertaining history [...] 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 * 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. -- Ivan Hewett * Daily Telegraph * A comprehensive and thoughtful survey that is also eminently readable. -- James Bowman an extraordinarily thorough treatment of English church music's history. -- Roxanna Panufnik Gant's 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 * A terrific book * The Awl * I would urge everybody interested in English history to buy this book at once: Mr. Gant maneuvers so elegantly between the better-known historical narrative and the music that reacts to and supports that political ecosystem. [...] The whole time I was reading O Sing Unto the Lord, I was making copious notes to go and rediscover some forgotten anthem. Time after time, passing references to pieces I've sung and loved brought me sharp pangs of nostalgia, followed by a sense of gratitude that this tradition has been such an important part of my musical world. -- Nico Muhly * New York Times *show more

About Andrew Gant

'No-one is better qualified to write on the subject of English Church Music' (Peter Phillips) than Andrew Gant, who is the author of Christmas Carols: From Village Green to Church Choir [9781781253526]. He is a composer, choirmaster, university teacher and writer who has directed the choirs of the Guards' Chapel, Worcester College Oxford and Her Majesty's Chapel Royal. He lectures in music at St Peter's College and St Edmund Hall in Oxford.show more

Rating details

27 ratings
4.14 out of 5 stars
5 30% (8)
4 59% (16)
3 7% (2)
2 4% (1)
1 0% (0)
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