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Track(s) taken from CDA68013


First line:
And did those feet in ancient time
author of text
1804; Milton

Westminster Abbey Choir, James O'Donnell (conductor), Robert Quinney (organ)
Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Studio Master:
Studio Master:
Recording details: January 2013
Westminster Abbey, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Adrian Peacock
Engineered by David Hinitt
Release date: January 2014
Total duration: 3 minutes 6 seconds

Cover artwork: Westminster Bridge (detail) by Samuel Scott (c1702-1772)
Private Collection / © Agnew's, London / Bridgeman Art Library, London


'The recording is first class. Engineer David Hinitt and producer Adrian Peacock have successfully captured the rich acoustics and yet achieved a clear reproduction of the voices and the mighty organ. Anyone who has ever been in Westminster Abbey should be overwhelmed by the lifelike sound picture. The generous programme is also finely contrasted … the quality of the singing is on a high level and Robert Quinney negotiates the organ accompaniments excellently' (MusicWeb International)» More
Sir Jacob Epstein’s bust of William Blake, which commands our attention staring out from Poets’ Corner, is one of the few fine pieces of contemporary art in Westminster Abbey. Those who have a rose-tinted appreciation of Englishness may find this a disturbing representation of the poet and artist who wrote so beautifully of our ‘green and pleasant land’. However, Blake penned the short poem in 1804 by way of introduction to his Milton, a poem—a mystical, metaphysical epic—which combines classical references with Dante-esque imagery, as John Milton returns to earth in order to unite great literary figures of history with Blake himself. Jerusalem refers to the legend that Jesus visited Glastonbury in the years before his public ministry in Galilee. Blake’s romantic imagination contrasts the vision of the heavenly Jerusalem blossoming in England with the darkness of the Industrial Revolution’s ‘satanic mills’.

Parry’s masterful and rousing setting was not initially composed for a great national occasion, but rather for Francis Younghusband’s patriotic Fight for Right Society in 1916. Although it was to be conducted by Walford Davies, Parry was reluctant about seeming to give credence to such ultra-patriotism, and later withdrew his support entirely. To Parry’s delight, Jerusalem was adopted by Millicent Fawcett and the Women’s Suffrage movement in 1917. The Parrys were keen supporters of the fledgling movement for universal suffrage. Jerusalem was sung at the 1918 Suffrage Demonstration Concert, and it remained the property of The National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies until 1928. It is hard to overstate the hymn’s popularity in contemporary terms, and for many it has become akin to a second English National Anthem, not least through its perennial inclusion in the last night of the Proms programme. It was sung as the final hymn at the wedding of Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

from notes by The Revd Dr James Hawkey © 2014

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