Father Stephen writes:
I have a been a Benedictine monk for fifty-four years, a member of the twenty something-strong monastic community at Worth Abbey in West Sussex. Our monastery has fingers in several pastoral pies, notably education, and I have been involved in the school attached to our monastery since 1967, in various incarnations: teacher, Housemaster and Headmaster.
Preacher: Dom Stephen Ortiger, O.S.B. (a Benedictine monk and former Abbot at Worth).
Mass for Four Voices William Byrd 1592
From 1994 to 2002 I was Abbot of our monastery and am now Vicar for Religious in the Catholic diocese of Arundel and Brighton, i.e. the Bishop’s liaison officer to communities of Religious: monks, nuns, etc. My interests are God, people, spirituality, communicating, medieval history, English literature, PG Wodehouse, Winnie the Pooh, aeroplanes and photography and my greatest pleasure is to put any or all of the above at the service of preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
It is fitting that the Mass setting is by William Byrd who was a devout Catholic. The Mass for Four Voices and the Eucharistic Motet Ave Verum Corpus come from his collection of works entitled Gradualia which was published during the reign of Elizabeth I.
Byrd purposely devised the Gradualia for liturgical use at a time when the Catholic Mass could only be practised in extreme secrecy for fear of arrest or even execution. It is not surprising that in these circumstances, Byrd composed only three Masses which remain undoubtedly the finest masses written by an English composer and lie at the heart
of the English liturgical choral repertoire.
The choir of St Dunstan’s has the privilege of leading the music in worship in the ancient and beautiful Parish Church. It has an extensive repertoire, and a distinctive and long-standing musical tradition within the Chichester Diocese.
The choir is affiliated to the RSCM and in 2014/2015 its repertoire within the context of the liturgy at St Dunstan’s has included Duruflé’s Requiem, Vierne’s Messe Solennelle, Allegri’s Miserere and Villette’s Tu Es Petrus. Concert repertoire in 2014 included works from Greene’s Lord Let me known Mine End to Parry’s Blest Pair of Sirens.
In 2015, the choir sang Choral Evensong at Chichester Cathedral and two Junior Choir girls were awarded two out of four coveted places in Salisbury Cathedral Choir.
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