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They that go down to the sea in ships

author of text
Psalm 107: 23-30

Herbert Sumsion (1899–1995) was Organist of Gloucester Cathedral between 1928 and 1967 and Director of Music at Cheltenham Ladies’ College between 1928 and 1968. Between 1926 and 1928 he was Teacher of Harmony and Counterpoint at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia. As Organist at Gloucester he was responsible for the Three Choirs’ Festival every three years. He was awarded his BMus from the University of Durham in 1920, the DMus from Lambeth in 1947, and was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Music. His honours included the CBE in 1961 and honorary awards from the Royal Academy of Music, the Royal College of Organists and the Royal School of Church Music.

Sumsion wrote books, services and a number of anthems, including They that go down to the sea in ships which was written in 1979 for Dennis Kiddy and the Choir of Repton Preparatory School. The piece unfolds with a remarkable economy of material: a rippling, listless organ part with an attractive solo melody; rising and falling choral writing and later imitative writing, mostly developed over long-held organ pedal-notes and through changes in tempo—an object lesson in the development of musical material.

from notes by William McVicker © 1999


English Choral and Organ Music
CDH55009Archive Service
The English Anthem, Vol. 7
CDA67087Archive Service


Track 2 on CDH55009 [6'32] Archive Service
Track 3 on CDA67087 [6'37] Archive Service

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