Monday, June 6, 2011

Sir John Stainer

Sir John Stainer (June 6, 1840 - March 31, 1901) was one of the most well-known English church musicians of his time. Though he wrote many hymn tunes, anthems and service music, not many of them are still in use today. His one enduring work was an oratorio, The Crucifixion: A Meditation on the Sacred Passion of the Holy Redeemer (to give the full title), words by William J. Sparrow-Simpson, which was first performed on February 24, 1887, which was the day after Ash Wednesday. This work is still often performed by church choirs all over the world.

Of particular interest here is that there are six hymns interspersed between the choral movements, which were intended to be sung by the audience/congregation. At least two of the tunes of these hymns by Stainer have retained some life of their own, ALL FOR JESUS and CROSS OF JESUS.

But by far the most well-known section of The Crucifixion is God so loved the world, which has been sung by thousands of choirs who would never sing the entire work. The video below is the choir of St. Paul's Cathedral in London, where Stainer both sang as a boy chorister, and served for many years as organist.

God so loved the world
That he gave his only-begotten Son
That whoso believeth, believeth in him
Should not perish, but have everlasting life.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world
But that the world through him might be saved.

John 3:16-17

Three Years Ago:
Sir John Stainer

One Year Ago: Sir John Stainer

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