Bless the Lord, O my soul
, a setting of Psalm 104, was commissioned by the Eton Old Choristers’ Association to celebrate the choristers’ part in the school’s life from its foundation by Henry VI in 1440 until the choir school’s closure in 1968. This piece is a paean of praise which is characterized by the opening flourishes on the organ and the outburst of joyful, canonic, wordless singing (to ‘Ah’) which forms the choir’s first entry. The music then moves backwards and forwards between the piano staccato chords which accompany the choir’s first line of text, more organ filigree work from the opening, and big forte chords with the choir’s wordless canon. The second section (‘who coverest thyself with light’) has the choir imitating the trebles’ first phrase in another extended canonic progression under which the organ develops the filigree figure from the start into a moto perpetuo. The opening returns with what Dove has almost now made into a mantra of the first words ‘Bless the Lord, O my soul’. The final section increases in volume, intensity and excitement to bring the anthem to a dazzling conclusion.
from notes by Paul Spicer © 2010