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The Quest

First line:
I missed him when the sun began to bend
first performance on 27 June 2015
author of text
author of text

In June 2014 John Hughes, the gifted young clergyman who served as Dean of Chapel at Jesus College, Cambridge, was killed in a car accident. The sense of shock and loss felt by his family and friends was shared by his college, by Cambridge generally, and throughout the Anglican Church, where he had been very possibly destined for high office. At such times, it is my hope and belief that music can play a part in healing and consolation, a feeling shared by Mark Williams, the Director of Music at Jesus College, who invited me to write The Quest.

The piece is dedicated to the memory of John Hughes, and was first performed by the combined choirs of Jesus College at a memorial Evensong in their college chapel on 27 June 2015.

It was not the easiest of pieces to write. After much searching I found George MacDonald’s poem which seemed to express what we all felt, and I instantly knew that I wanted to juxtapose it with the In paradisum section of the age-old Burial Service. Oddly, once the texts were chosen, the music seemed to flow naturally from them, and the poignant voice of a solo oboe sprang into my head. I respectfully offer the piece to John’s family, friends and colleagues with the hope that they may find consolation in it.

from notes by John Rutter © 2015


Rutter: The Gift of Life & other sacred music
COLCD138Download only


Track 9 on COLCD138 [6'40] Download only

Track-specific metadata for COLCD138 track 9

Recording date
16 July 2015
Recording venue
Fairfield Hall, Croydon, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Thomas Hewitt Jones
Recording engineer
Mike Hatch & Chris Kalcov
Hyperion usage
  1. Rutter: The Gift of Life & other sacred music (COLCD138)
    Disc 1 Track 9
    Release date: November 2015
    Download only
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