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One thing have I desired

author of text
Psalm 27: 4-6

It was not at all common in the 20th century for an individual churchman also to be a great patron of the arts, but an extraordinary exception to this was certainly to be found in the person of Walter Hussey (1909-1985). During a forty year career as vicar of St Matthew’s Church, Northampton and then Dean of Chichester Cathedral, he was personally responsible for commissioning a large number of paintings, sculptures and musical works from prominent artists, writers and composers including W H Auden, Henry Moore, Graham Sutherland, John Piper, Marc Chagall and others in the visual and literary arts and Gerald Finzi, Benjamin Britten and Leonard Bernstein among musicians. Perhaps the two most famous musical works that resulted from this personal vision were Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb and Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms. After Hussey moved to Chichester, St Matthew’s continued his tradition of commissioning works for its annual Patronal Festival and Howells composed One thing have I desired, a setting of verses from Psalm 27, to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the church in 1968. Once more, Howells proves himself to be a master of mood, skilfully manipulating texture, harmony and dynamics to express the quiet joy that the psalmist anticipates in dwelling in God’s presence, protected in the ‘time of trouble’.

from notes by Paul Andrews © 2010


Howells: Choral Music
SIGCD190Download only


Track 4 on SIGCD190 [5'21] Download only

Track-specific metadata for SIGCD190 track 4

Recording date
6 January 2009
Recording venue
St John the Evangelist, Upper Norwood, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Adrian Peacock
Recording engineer
David Hinitt
Hyperion usage
  1. Howells: Choral Music (SIGCD190)
    Disc 1 Track 4
    Release date: April 2010
    Download only
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