Many of Whitlock’s organ pieces are still regularly to be found in recital programmes today – principally because the music is tuneful and well crafted, exploring the resources of the organ of the inter-war years to full effect. The tendency to conservatism in his harmonic idiom has been frowned upon, but in an era when various strands in contemporary composition have welcomed a ‘revisionist romanticism’ his music seems more congruous with the musical world than it did in the years immediately after his death.
Glorious in Heaven is a motet for use on saints’ days; it was written in August 1925 and was published two years later by Oxford University Press. It was first performed on 20 September 1925 at St Mary’s Church, Chatham, and is dedicated to the choir there. Scored for five-part chorus, it is composed in an unfussy melodic style, with plenty of variation in texture and interaction between the parts which serve to engage the listener’s attention.
from notes by William McVicker © 2005