The Gradual for Laetare Sunday is ‘Laetatus Sum’ which is translated in the Gregorian Missal as ‘I rejoiced.’ In the British Isles I think most of us (Catholics included) are more familiar with the translation from the Book of Common Prayer ‘I was glad’ , especially if you watched the wedding of Wills and Kate. That great dramatic organ intro. This is Sir Parry at his finest. A ‘Great British’ anthem and far better than Jerusalem.
If you are not familiar with much of Parry’s music, there is a lot of really good choral stuff out there and his orchestral works have been having a revivial recently. Tonight, I am singing his Songs of Farewell at a concert in Brighton. Another fabulous piece of music, six motets sets to poetic texts from Vaughan, Campion, Lockhart, John Donne, Shakespeare and Psalm XXXIX. It’s really challenging to sing but quite exciting rhythms.
Here is the first, My Soul, There is A Country set to the words of Henry Vaughan.
“My soul there is a country far beyond the stars, where stands a winged sentry.”