Judith Weir premiere at 2021 Festival of St Cecilia

Judith Weir premiere at 2021 Festival of St Cecilia
St Paul’s Cathedral

On November 17, the Festival of St Cecilia, the world premiere of the new anthem One day to sing, by Judith Weir will be performed by the Choirs of St Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey and Westminster Cathedral, conducted by Andrew Carwood at St Paul’s Cathedral in London. The four-minute anthem sets the text Then shall ye shout, from Songs for Strangers and Pilgrims. It will form part of the annual Festival of St Cecilia service, the flagship event in Help Musicians’ calendar since 1946. It is a key moment to celebrate what music brings to all of us and to mark the contribution that musicians make to our lives. 2021 marks the event’s 75th anniversary and holds even greater significance given both the devastating toll the pandemic has taken on musicians and the role that music has played to sustain us during these challenging times.

Judith Weir comments: “In setting Christina Rossetti's words about singers keeping silent until it is time to sing again, loudly and with passion (she was originally referring to the biblical Battle of Jericho), I wish to commemorate the period beginning in March 2020 when choral singing was proscribed during the Coronavirus pandemic. I also want to honour the many charitable and professional organisations caring for the needs of musicians, amongst them Help Musicians, whose centenary we celebrate in 2021.”

Novello & Company Limited and Chester Music Limited’s composers have experienced a long association with the Festival of St Cecilia service. There have been numerous commissions for this annual event, twenty of which we are proud to publish:

1949 (performed again in 1982 service)
Herbert Howells
King of Glory

William H Harris

Prelude to a Solemn Music

George Dyson
Live forever, glorious Lord

Geoffrey Bush
Praise the Lord, O my Soul

1960 (performed again in 1976 service)
Lennox Berkeley
Thou hast made me

Jack Westrup
God be merciful unto us

1964 & 1983
Kenneth Leighton
Te Deum Laudamus

Anthony Lewis
The heavens proclaim the glory of God

John Joubert
Lord, thou has been our refuge

1974 (performed again at 1977 service)
Arthur Bliss
Sing Mortals

Bernard Rose
Feast Song for St Cecilia

John Tavener

Robert Saxton
O Sing unto the Lord a new song

John McCabe
The Evening Watch

Ruth Byrchmore
A Birthday

Peter Maxwell Davies
Laudate Dominum

Richard Rodney Bennett
Verses on St Cecilia’s Day

Tarik O’Regan
Voce mea

The Musgrave
Anthem - to St Cecilia

Judith Weir
One day to sing

About Help Musicians

In 1921 English tenor Gervase Elwes died tragically in a railway accident in Boston, USA. Throughout his life, he had shown compassion and kindness to musicians and composers, counting Ralph Vaughan Williams and Edward Elgar as his friends. Following his death, his friends set up a fund for musicians in his name and in 1930, this became the Musicians Benevolent Fund. During the Second World War, pianist Myra Hess gave them the financial boost that they needed to continue their work by donating the proceeds of her famous concert series, which ran throughout the War at the National Gallery. Their work has expanded to the point where, each year, they help thousands of musicians who require support – covering a wide range of genres and career stages. In 2014, they adopted the name Help Musicians to bring their message to an even wider range of musicians and supporters.

For 100 years, Help Musicians has been providing help, support and opportunities to empower musicians at all stages of their lives. They are an independent charity which aims to make a meaningful difference to the lives of musicians, offering a wide spectrum of support which includes: Health & Welfare services, Creative development funding, ground-breaking research, a mental health helpline for the entire music industry and an incredibly popular hearing health scheme which aims to prevent hearing problems that would otherwise bring musicians’ careers to an untimely end.


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