This five-part setting of Blow out the trumpet in Sion
, the words being from the Book of Joel, Chapter 2, achieves its effect by contrasting fanfare-like chords with a series of jostling, exciting short melodic fragments. The declamatory bass line at the words ‘Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble’ has the qualities of a madrigal and this is also evident as the word ‘cometh’ is bandied about between basses and altos. This reappears, but the second time the tenors are answered by the rest of the choir before a reprise of the words ‘and sound an alarum’, ending with an English cadence. The music is found in no fewer than six contemporary sources which may indicate that this anthem might have been widely performed in its day.
from notes by William McVicker © 1997