“Grave, solemn, & fitted to devotion”: Anglican Church Music 1688 – 1727

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My thesis explores how English church composers between 1688 and 1727 engaged with the wide-spread religious and cultural objective for moderation and tolerance, in order to avoid repeating the destructiveness of seventeenth-century religious division between Catholics, Anglicans, and Nonconformists. Sermons written around the turn of the eighteenth century are particularly valuable because they illustrate this moderate temperament, and a number of them also defend and support Anglican sacred music, which had been a highly divisive issue in the seventeenth century. For English church composers to have their music approved of and accepted, preachers and writers cautioned them to avoid imitating French and Italian-style secular music, which was decried as the “theatrical style,” and encouraged them to maintain, in the words of William Croft (1678 – 1727), the “Solemnity and Gravity of what may properly be called the Church-Style.” There were two methods that composers used to attain the grave and solemn style: the first was choice of text, where they favored penitential psalms, or selectively chose mournful verses from non-penitential psalms; the second was the cultivation of a distinctive style that avoided text painting, but emphasized syllabic setting, slower tempos, and the repetition of mournful words within anthem movements for ensembles of voices

Master of Music
Anglican music, grave, solemn

Salyer, Andrew James. "“Grave, solemn, & fitted to devotion”: Anglican Church Music 1688 – 1727." (2017) Master’s Thesis, Rice University. https://hdl.handle.net/1911/96100.

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