City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Choral Matins at St John's Review

By Barnaby Miln - Posted on 31 August 2009

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The Church of St John the Evangelist, Princes Street
Running time: 
Choral Matins from the Scottish Book of Common Prayer
Revd Shona Boardman (Officiant), Stephen Doughty (Director of Music)

Over the years Anglicans have become used to a weekly diet of Choral Eucharist which bit by bit has replaced Choral Matins. So the 9.30am service at the Church of St John the Evangelist, the only church on Princes Street, brought back happy memories.

The choir processed the length of the church to their stalls and sung Ayleword’s setting of the Preces. The congregation joined in the singing of Psalm 57 and then we sat to listen to the two Bible readings. The choir of twenty eight voices sung Henry Purcell’s setting of Te Deum Laudamas. This was sung in English, as it had been written for St Cecilia’s Day in 1694, the year before Purcell died.

We stood to say the Apostles’ Creed and the choir sung the Prayers, Responses and Collects.  Sitting we heard in Latin the anthem Jehova, quam multi sunt hostes mei (Jehovah, how many are my enemies) which is one of only two sacred motets Purcell wrote in Latin and probably for the Roman Catholic chapel of Queen Catherine at St James’s Palace. There are several sections, two of which were distinctly sung this morning by the Choir’s tenor and bass soloists. The congregation joined in for the rousing Hymn, sung to the tune Westminster Abbey, Christ is made the sure foundation, before the Blessing from St John’s curate, Shona Boardman, recently arrived from Canada.

A most musical, rousing and yet spiritual start to the final Sunday of St John’s Festival Worship in the heart of the city.

Event: Sunday 30 August, 9.30am