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Give us the wings of faith

author of text

Sir Ernest Bullock (1890-1979) was not primarily a composer. He is remembered today chiefly as an educationalist and organist. He was born in Wigan where Bairstow had begun his musical career as organist of the parish church, became one of his pupils and went on to become his assistant organist at Leeds Parish Church in 1907. In 1912 he became assistant organist at Manchester Cathedral. After demobilisation he became organist at St Michael's College, Tenbury, before moving almost immediately to Exeter as cathedral organist in 1919. Bullock succeeded Sir Sydney Nicholson (to whom he had been Assistant Organist at Manchester Cathedral) as Master of the Choristers at Westminster Abbey in l928. It was during his time at the Abbey that he provided the music for the coronation of King George VI in 1937. He wrote most of the fanfares both for that event and for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.

In 1941 Bullock went to Glasgow to take up the Gardiner Professorship in Music at the University, a post which also involved being principal of the Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. In 1952 he succeeded Sir George Dyson as director of the Royal College of Music. He was knighted in 1951 and retired in 1960.

Bullock composed only twelve anthems, two settings of the Te Deum and two settings of the Evening Canticles. The anthem Give us the wings of faith is for a saint's day and sets part of a hymn by Isaac Watts. It is written in a pleasing arch form rising to a central climax before ending much as it began.

from notes by William McVicker © 1994


The English Anthem, Vol. 4
CDA66678Archive Service


Track 8 on CDA66678 [3'17] Archive Service

Track-specific metadata for CDA66678 track 8

Recording date
1 July 1993
Recording venue
St Paul's Cathedral, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Arthur Johnson
Recording engineer
Antony Howell
Hyperion usage
  1. The English Anthem, Vol. 4 (CDA66678)
    Disc 1 Track 8
    Release date: February 1994
    Deletion date: March 2009
    Archive Service
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