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Jubilate in C

First line:
O be joyful in the Lord, all ye lands
1961; for the choir of St George's, Windsor
author of text
Psalm 100

In July 1934 Benjamin Britten, then twenty years old, composed a Te deum in C major for the choir of St Mark’s, North Audley Street, London. He followed it later the same year with a Jubilate in E flat, thereby completing the traditional pairing of Anglican canticles. However, the latter was never released—it was first published only after the composer’s death, in 1984—so, to most of his contemporaries, Britten’s C major Te deum seemed incomplete. Almost three decades later, at the request of the Duke of Edinburgh, Britten made good his ‘omission’, producing the Jubilate in C major heard here. Though composed for St George’s Chapel, Windsor, the canticle was first performed in Leeds Parish Church in October 1961. The sparseness of texture is typical of Britten’s later style. Voice parts are often in pairs—with hints of heterophony (divergent versions of the same melody), a feature of the eastern music Britten encountered during this period. Though the music’s tone is generally buoyant, some of the word-setting is reminiscent of Stravinsky’s ‘alienating’ practices, found most notably in the Symphony of Psalms. ‘Be thankful unto him’, for example, is set not as a hymn of praise, but in a whisper over a long organ chord. History doesn’t record the Duke’s reaction.

from notes by Martin Ennis © 2018


Studio Master: SIGCD465Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Britten: Christ's Nativity & other choral works
CDA66825Archive Service
Byrd & Britten: Choral works
Studio Master: SIGCD481Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Locus iste
Studio Master: SIGCD567Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
The Feast of St Michael and All Angels at Westminster Abbey


Track 5 on CDA67643 [2'32]
Track 15 on CDA66825 [2'29] Archive Service
Track 5 on SIGCD465 [2'38] Download only
Track 4 on SIGCD481 [2'21] Download only
Track 11 on SIGCD567 [2'32] Download only

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