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God be in my head

author of text
Book of Hours, 1514, in English in the Sarum Primer of 1558

Philip Radcliffe (1905-1986) was a student at King's College, Cambridge, between 1924 and 1929. He subsequently became a Fellow of King's College between 1931 and 1937 and again from 1948. In 1947 he was appointed a University lecturer in music, a post he held until 1972. Radcliffe was an important teacher and influenced many generations of students at Cambridge. He lived in Cambridge most of his life and remembered his first visit to King's whilst still at Charterhouse: 'I had my first sight of Cambridge in December 1923 when I sat for a scholarship examination. I attended evensong in the Chapel of my future College and can still recall the impact made upon me by the quiet, other-world sound of the choir singing Remember, O thou man.'

Radcliffe's interests in music were wide-ranging; he published articles and books on subjects from Arcangelo Corelli to John Ireland. As a composer he wrote mainly church music, songs and incidental music. Radcliffe was tragically killed with his sister Susan in a motor accident in France on 2 September 1986.

There are many settings of the text 'God be in my head', but Radcliffe's must be one of the most beautiful: it is written in eight parts—for double choir—and the composer achieves a rich and sonorous texture whilst not losing sight of the simplicity which the text inspires. His memory of the 'other-world sound of the choir' clearly surfaces in this work.

from notes by William McVicker © 1995


The English Anthem, Vol. 5
CDA66758Archive Service
The Evening Hour
Studio Master: SIGCD446Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available


Track 10 on CDA66758 [1'41] Archive Service
Track 1 on SIGCD446 [1'29] Download only

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