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Blessed are all they that fear the Lord

author of text
Psalm 128

‘Blessed are all they that fear the Lord’, Psalm 128 in Prayerbook wording for the solemnisation of marriage, carries barely inferior cachet, for Boxing Day 1613 in Whitehall Chapel: ‘A Weddinge Anthem first Made for my lord of summersett’. Robert Kerr, the Scots favourite who preceded the great Duke of Buckingham in the king’s affections, had fallen for a demure court charmer, Frances Howard; unfortunately already wife to the Third Earl of Essex. James repeatedly leaned on his bishops to pronounce an annulment, then raised the young nobody to a newfangled Earldom of Somerset, to equal his blushing fiancée’s titular rank. Choral recapitulations and spatial effects enhance a graceful affirmativeness; the ensemble form’s exultant running bass Amen broadens and lengthens the circulated church version. (At times the score provides a remarkable extra boon, unique expansions.) Two years on, scandal blighted the match. The not-so-virginal bride’s murderous proclivities came to light: a Lucrezia Borgia-like poisoning of Sir Thomas Overbury, leading to death sentences for the pair, commuted by royal indulgence to permanent house-arrest. This contretemps did nothing to dent the setting’s cathedral popularity.

from notes by David Pinto © 2017


Gibbons: Anthems
CDH55228Archive Service
Gibbons: In chains of gold - The English pre-Restoration verse anthem, Vol. 1
Studio Master: SIGCD511Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available


Track 14 on CDH55228 [4'42] Archive Service
Track 10 on SIGCD511 [4'35] Download only

Track-specific metadata for CDH55228 track 14

Recording date
30 April 1999
Recording venue
Winchester Cathedral, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Mark Brown
Recording engineer
Antony Howell & Julian Millard
Hyperion usage
  1. Gibbons: Anthems (CDA67116)
    Disc 1 Track 14
    Release date: April 2000
    Deletion date: March 2005
    Superseded by CDH55228
  2. Gibbons: Anthems (CDH55228)
    Disc 1 Track 14
    Release date: May 2007
    Deletion date: November 2018
    Archive Service
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