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O clap your hands

author of text
Psalm 47, omitting verse 9a; 1549 Book of Common Prayer

Orlando Gibbons is acknowledged as one of the foremost composers of his period; he wrote some 40 anthems, a variety of other church music, a book of madrigals, and a large quantity of keyboard and instrumental consort music. He was born in Oxford of a musical family, and sang as a boy in the choir of King’s College, Cambridge, where later, in 1599, he became a student. In about 1603 he moved to London to become a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal. By the time of his death he was senior organist there, and also organist of Westminster Abbey. O clap your hands is one of the largest and most festive of Gibbons’ anthems, making vivid use of its eight-voice double choir layout. It was first performed in 1622 at a ceremony in Oxford when Gibbons and his friend William Heyther received the degree of Doctor of Music; one source states that Gibbons wrote the piece as a qualifying exercise for the degree. The music certainly offers convincing evidence of Gibbons’ impressive compositional skill, and it contains examples of such ‘learned devices’ as canon which would no doubt have gratified the examiners.

from notes by Collegium Records 1988


A choral tapestry
Studio Master: SIGCD283Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Faire is the Heaven
COLCD107Download only
Gibbons: Anthems
Music from the reign of King James I


Track 12 on CDH55228 [5'32]
Track 18 on CDA67858 [5'23]
Track 9 on COLCD107 [4'36] Download only
Track 9 on SIGCD283 [3'55] Download only

Track-specific metadata for CDH55228 track 12

Recording date
30 April 1999
Recording venue
Winchester Cathedral, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Mark Brown
Recording engineer
Antony Howell & Julian Millard
Hyperion usage
  1. Gibbons: Anthems (CDA67116)
    Disc 1 Track 12
    Release date: April 2000
    Deletion date: March 2005
    Superseded by CDH55228
  2. Gibbons: Anthems (CDH55228)
    Disc 1 Track 12
    Release date: May 2007
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