Sir John Stainer’s hymn to the people

  • Classical & Jazz

Sir John Stainer’s hymn to the people

Published:

Thu, 04/04/2013 - 10:00

By:

Amir
Conductor Guy Protheroe
Conductor Guy Protheroe
Published: 
04 April, 2013
by SARAH DAWES

SIR John Stainer’s widely known wonderful oratorio The Crucifixion was written for the choir St Marylebone Parish Church in 1887.

The piece has been performed every year since then – that’s 127 times – usually on Good Friday. 

It’s also still heard at Passiontide in many Protestant churches of the former British Empire.

Stainer would have known a large choir of men and boys but now there is a professional choir of 10 singers who perform at services.

This Good Friday, his oratorio was performed at St Marylebone Church by the English Chamber Choir which turned 40 last year and which did more than justice to the piece.

Conductor Guy Protheroe was joined by soloists Robin Bailey, Tenor, Alexander Learmouth, Bass, and Gavin Roberts, organist. 

The Crucifixion tells the story of Jesus’s Passion somewhat differently from the more famous Bach versions.

In Bach’s time the congregation would have joined in the singing of the Chorales, these days they are performed by the choir alone.

However, Stainer particularly wanted to include the congregation.

So his oratorio has five hymns which are delightful, simple and easy for the congregation to sing. 

Two high points of the work are the chorus “Fling wide the gates” and the quartet “God so loved the world”.

If you missed this year’s performance, be sure to make it next Good Friday.

It’s a lovely work.

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