Hear my words, ye people
was composed for the Festival of the Salisbury Diocesan Choral Association and first performed in Salisbury Cathedral on 10 May 1894. This extended anthem was meant to be sung by a large gathering of parish choirs and so the choral-writing had to be straightforward, particularly since rehearsal time for the combined choirs would be limited. The more technically demanding music was therefore reserved for the soprano and baritone solos, and the especially fine organ part. The soprano solo is particularly charming, but the most memorable part of the anthem is the final section where Parry provided a stirring tune for Sir Henry Baker’s metrical version of Psalm 150, ‘O praise ye the Lord’. This tune and text have subsequently come to be closely linked as a popular hymn. The passages for semichorus in the final section of the anthem were, one imagines, intended to be sung by the Cathedral Choir, the resultant contrast of choral sonorities being suggestive of a vocal ‘concerto’.
from notes by John Heighway © 1988