Sir (Alfred) Herbert Brewer (1865–1928) composed his Evening Canticles in D for the 1927 Three Choirs Festival, held that year in Hereford Cathedral. A close association with this Festival began in 1896, when Brewer was appointed organist at Gloucester, a Cathedral in which he had served as a chorister. At the turn of the century, Brewer was fortunate enough to have both Howells and Gurney in his choir. As a composer, Brewer explored all musical forms, but he seemed more at home in the concert hall than in the cathedral. Like Stanford’s Service in C, Brewer’s setting is concise; the Nunc dimittis in particular exploits a simple, direct chordal style which aptly reflects the tranquility of the text. The Magnificat is more melodic in conception and is unified by a certain amount of phrase repetition and by a pervasive triplet figure. This Service also exists in a version with orchestral accompaniment.
from notes by Sarah Langdon © 1987