Welcome to Hyperion Records, an independent British classical label devoted to presenting high-quality recordings of music of all styles and from all periods from the twelfth century to the twenty-first.
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Orlando Gibbons (1583–1625) was Organist of Westminster Abbey from 1623. At the funeral of James I in March 1625, he was also listed as senior Organist of the Chapel Royal in the Lord Chamberlain’s cheque book. One account of the visit of the French Ambassador to the Abbey on 15 December 1624 for the betrothal of Henrietta Maria to Charles I recounts that ‘at their entrance, the organ was touched by the best finger of that age, Mr Orlando Gibbons’. Gibbons contributed to two collections of hymnody: William Leighton’s The teares or Lamentations of a Sorrowful Soul (1614) and George Wither’s The Hymns and Songs of the Church (1623), where fifteen of his ‘songs’ were bound in with a collection of metrical Psalms. Wither’s book has been described as the first congregational hymn book of the Church of England, and the epistle dedicatory claims that he has ‘laboured to sute them to the nature of the subject and the common peoples capacities, without regard of catching the vaine blasts of Opinion. The same also hath been the ayme of Master Orlando Gibbons … in fitting them with tunes.’ In Hymns and Songs Song 22 was originally set to the hymn text ‘O Lord of hosts and God of Israel.’
from notes by The Revd Dr James Hawkey © 2014