, like the Sanctus of Bingham’s Bromley Missa brevis
, addresses God with humility, seeking the soul’s liberation (and perhaps the liberation of all souls) from self-repression and fear. The visionary words of William Blake, from his Songs of Innocence and Experience
, tell of the good shepherd attending watchfully to his wayward flock, a Christian metaphor for the fully engaged God, polar opposite of James Joyce’s indifferent creator spirit, ‘refined out of existence … paring his fingernails’. Bingham reinforces her engagement with Blake’s text by incorporating material from the hymn tune ‘Awake, my soul’, especially fragments of the bell-like descending scale of its second phrase. She was drawn to the hymn by its words, written by Thomas Ken (Bishop of Bath and Wells) in the 1670s, which speak of dedication to the Christian path and liberation from ‘dull sloth’. The anthem quotes the hymn’s familiar doxology, ‘Praise God, from whom all blessings flow’, fully stated towards the composition’s close.
from notes by Andrew Stewart © 2013