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Spirit, leave thine house of clay!

A Funeral Piece; The Harp of Zion, London, 1840
author of text

The anthems by John Fawcett represent the moment when psalmody began to merge with, and be replaced by, the Victorian choral society movement. Fawcett was originally a Kendal shoemaker, and was self-taught as a musician. His early works belong to the North of England psalmody tradition, but he gradually became more assured and ambitious as, presumably, he came into contact with the choral works of Handel, Haydn and perhaps even Mozart. Spirit, leave thine house of clay! was probably written for a public funeral and begins with choruses that recall the serene simplicity of Mozart’s Ave verum corpus. However, the last chorus, with its Hallelujahs, returns to more familiar Handelian territory. The text is by the Sheffield journalist James Montgomery, the author of ‘Angels from the realms of glory’.

from notes by Peter Holman © 1998


Vital Spark of Heav'nly Flame
CDA67020Archive Service


Track 13 on CDA67020 [2'45] Archive Service

Track-specific metadata for CDA67020 track 13

Recording date
12 September 1997
Recording venue
St Mary the Virgin, Stoke-by-Nayland, Suffolk, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Martin Compton
Recording engineer
Antony Howell & Julian Millard
Hyperion usage
  1. Vital Spark of Heav'nly Flame (CDA67020)
    Disc 1 Track 13
    Release date: March 1998
    Deletion date: May 2013
    Archive Service
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