Wood, Charles: Anthems - arr. Morten Schuldt-Jensen (SAM, Organ)
As a student of Parry and Stanford, and then tutor to Vaughan Williams and Howells, Wood provides a notable ‘bridge-passage’ between two generations of Anglican church music. However, Wood only began seriously composing church music relatively late on in a life that was cut short at 60. Consequently, Wood’s best-known choral works date from a period when Howells was writing his first refined choral works such as A spotless rose, and Vaughan Williams his Mass in G minor.
The earliest work of the five, O thou, the central Orb (1915), is the most well known, with its soaring penultimate phrase holding an iconic place in the British cathedral and church canon. Expectans Expectavi (1919) sets the final two stanzas of the eponymous poem by Charles Hamilton Sorley, a Scottish war poet who died, aged 20, in the Battle of Loos during the First World War. The other three anthems were published posthumously: O most merciful and Oculi omnium, a pair of introits¸ together in 1927; and O be joyful in the Lord, a triumphant setting of Psalm 100 that quotes the Old 100th hymn tune from the Genevan Psalter, in 1929.
In O thou, the central Orb many editions have "day" in bar no. 60. However, it is overwhelmingly likely that this word is "clay". As well as making more sense, it also follows the rhyme scheme of the poem, rhyming with "day" from the line before.
1. Expectans expectavi [Charles Wood]
2. O be joyful in the Lord [Charles Wood]
3. Oculi omnium [Charles Wood]
4. O most merciful [Charles Wood]
5. O thou, the central Orb [Charles Wood]