If you have ever followed one of my musical advent calendars, then you already know how I feel about Orlando Gibbons, and today’s selection will not surprise you.
For those who are new to my Gibbons obsession… honestly, I’m very tempted to say just click on the link below and you will understand, because I’m just sitting here listening and smiling, despite the fact that my alto ego is wounded by the fact that the only recordings available online seem to be for a tenor soloist. (If you have any idea how gigantic my alto ego is when it comes to my solos, you will understand just how good this recording must be.)
Gibbons was a 16th century composer, and wrote both secular music and church music. He has a real gift for using the music to enhance the emotion of the lyrics, and for setting lyrics in a way that follow the natural rise and fall of speech, and he is just a joy to sing and to listen to. Behold, thou hast made my days is a verse anthem, which means that a soloist (or sometimes several soloists) sings the verses, and the choir comes in for the choruses. The text is taken from Psalm 39, which apparently never shows up in the Revised Common Lectionary at all, though the Anglicans use it on Maundy Thursday. But I already have a feast of music prepared for Maundy Thursday, so we’re having it now.