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God be in my head

author of text
Book of Hours, 1514, in English in the Sarum Primer of 1558

John Rutter (b1945) must rank as one of the most successful composers alive today. He was educated at Clare College in Cambridge where he was Director of Music between 1975 and 1979. He was a Lecturer at the Open University between 1975 and 1988 and was made an Honorary Fellow of Westminster Choir College, Princeton, in 1980. He is much in demand as an arranger, composer and conductor both in this country and in America. His large-scale works, Gloria (1974), Requiem (1985) and Magnificat (1990), have become some of the most widely performed of all pieces in the choral society repertoire.

His music has been described as pastiche—but this is to decry the sensitivities that he exhibits in writing a particular type of music for amateur musicians. His work is beautifully crafted, and is written sensitively for voices and instruments alike. Any composer willing to attempt a setting of words such as God be in my head, usually sung to a different and well-known tune—in this case by Walford Davies—must do so with an unshakeable conviction. This short work represents a mere shaving from the composer’s workbench in terms of numbers of bars, but nonetheless the result is a very beautiful setting of fine words from the Sarum Primer.

from notes by William McVicker 1999


Rutter: Requiem & other choral works
CDA30017Hyperion 30th Anniversary series
Rutter: Requiem & other choral works
The English Anthem, Vol. 7
The Music of St Paul's Cathedral
SPCC2000Super-budget price sampler


Track 9 on CDA30017 [1'37] Hyperion 30th Anniversary series
Track 9 on CDA66947 [1'37]
Track 4 on CDA67087 [1'47]
Track 14 on SPCC2000 [1'47] Super-budget price sampler

Track-specific metadata for CDA67087 track 4

Recording date
10 July 1998
Recording venue
St Paul's Cathedral, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Mark Brown
Recording engineer
Antony Howell & Julian Millard
Hyperion usage
  1. The English Anthem, Vol. 7 (CDA67087)
    Disc 1 Track 4
    Release date: January 1999
  2. The Music of St Paul's Cathedral (SPCC2000)
    Disc 1 Track 14
    Release date: July 2000
    Super-budget price sampler
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