The Friends of the Ordinariate have two purposes. The first is to raise money for the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. The second is to publicise as widely as possible the mission of the Ordinariate. Both these purposes fit within the framework of the New Evangelisation and are rooted in the historic mission of the Church on these isles, the conversion of England. The Friends strongly believe that the Ordinariate has a very important role to play in bringing back into the Catholic Church the wonderful musical heritage of the English church. The penal laws and the persecution of Catholics during the 220 years from 1558 to 1778 prevented any development of music by and for Catholics. Musicians who wished to compose church music had to do so within the Church of England. This applied both to Catholic and Anglican composers. The Pope Emeritus has a deep appreciation of the quality of church music in England and Wales and we are very indebted to him for his generous approach both to Anglicans and to the music of the Church of England. It is quite clear that Pope Benedict XVI expected that not only would priests and laity be received into the Catholic Church via the Ordinariate but that they would bring with them their musical heritage, part of what is usually described as the Anglican patrimony. What does this mean in practice? The articles in this section of our website comment on different aspects of music at the church in Warwick Street, London and elsewhere in the country.

Nicolas Ollivant

Music List for the Ordinariate Central Church

Details of the music for our Lady of the Assumption & St. Gregory, Warwick Street, may be found here.

The Anglican Patrimony: Music
by Anthony M J L Delarue

The following is an extract from a much longer paper prepared for the Friends of the Ordinariate Newsletter by the author. The whole article will be published in two parts both in the Eastertide and Autumn issues of the Newsletter, and will cover a wide range of topics, including: The Ordinariate Use, The Sarum Use and the Prayer Book, Vesture, Posture and Kneeling, and Music. Anthony Delarue has kindly agreed to assist with the implementation of the liturgy and the training of servers at the the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory, Warwick Street — a project supported by the Friends of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

The importance of music lies not only in the fact that it is a great part of the patrimony of the Ordinariates, but that, as the Church of England abandons it, it will become more and more the patrimony only of the Ordinariates. Much has been lost of the richness and variety once enjoyed in the Church of England, as any English schoolboy will remember. There is a long and consistent tradition through the 17th to 19th centuries, with moments of great flowering interspersed with periods of dull neglect; such is the Anglican way. Music, as it is introduced to the nascent Ordinariate liturgy, should be approached in its true context, the parish and cathedral traditions are quite distinct, and both worthy of preservation, and, for many younger people, of discovery. Warwick Street is in a funny position, undeniably a parish church, but possessing also, as the mother-church of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, occasionally the character of a cathedral, and at these times cathedral music will be appropriate. It is important, however, that the people learn to sing those parts of the chant which belongs to them and to parish life, not just hymns, important as they are. There can be little doubt that one of the mandates we have received from Pope Benedict is the preservation and promotion of Anglican music, and indeed its transmission as a living tradition.

In the early days of Anglicanism, we think of such names as Tomkins, Weelkes and, later, Purcell, much of which is lamentably neglected, and far more appropriate than Catholic polyphony of the same periods. The wonderful verse anthems of the 18th century (by composers such as Blow, Boyce and Greene) are rarely heard nowadays. Later, in the great flowering of the 19th and 20th centuries, names such as Bairstow, Stainer and Walmisley come to mind. These too have often recently been ignored as Victorian or out of date, but wrongly so. Then there are the composers of Anglican Chant, such as Ouseley, Turle and Walford Davies, and the various settings of the Ordinary texts of the Mass, Merbecke of course, but also such as Martin Shaw and Healey Willan.

The whole question of the recent tradition of Anglican music is complicated by the fact that, in the years since the Second Vatican Council, when Catholic parishes were abandoning wholesale their often impressive musical repertoire, many Anglican choirs, particularly the university colleges, such as George Guest at St John’s, Cambridge, adopted much written for the Roman rite. Now that is it being restored to its rightful home we may be grateful for its preservation through these dark years; from the Anglican perspective, however, it remains an interlude under external influences, and not part of the natural Tradition. It is as absurd to hear Palestrina in an Anglican Use Mass as it is (and sadly one does) to hear Bach at a pontifical Mass in a French Cathedral. (Bach was banned in most Catholic churches until the 1970s, and rightly so; it is beautiful music, but it is not written to illuminate Catholic liturgy.) The argument that all is appropriate in the name of art is neither tolerance nor cultured appreciation, but liturgical indifferentism.



Samuel Webbe 

From The Catholic Encyclopedia:

webbe_s_srEnglish composer, born in England in 1742; died in London, 29 May, 1816. He studied under Barbaudt. In 1766 he was given a prize medal by the Catch Club for his O that I had wings, and in all he obtained twenty-seven medals for as many canons, catches, and glees, including Discord, dire sister, Glory be to the Father, Swiftly from the mountain’s brow, and To thee all angels. Other glees like When winds breathe soft, Thy voice, O Harmony, and Would you know my Celia’s charms are even better known. In 1776 he succeeded George Paxton as organist of the chapel of the Sardinian embassy, a position which he held until 1795: he was also organist of the Portuguese chapel. His Collection of Motetts (1792) and A Collection of Masses for Small Choirs were extensively used in Catholic churches throughout Great Britain from 1795 to the middle of the last century. If not of a very high order, they are at least devotional, and some are still sung. He also published nine books of glees, between the years 1764 and 1798, and some songs. His glees are his best claim on posterity.

Refurbishment Work on Warwick Street’s Historic Pipe Organ

The historic pipe organ at Our Lady and St Gregory, Warwick Street is currently undergoing refurbishment to ensure its preservation for future generations. The photos below were taken recently and show the refurbishment taking place.

The heart of the instrument — its huge, central wind reservoir was carefully removed for releathering and repair, and this was last done circa 1960 by the Mander organ company of London.  This existing part was riddled with holes and provided an unstable supply to the organ’s historic pipe work. Wind pressure will therefore be restored in order to allow the organ’s three manual and pedal departments to speak properly without undue wind loss and pitch sag.

Gary Owens Ltd of Brecon has undertaken the work and currently holds the tuning and maintenance contract for the organ. Once the reservoir is returned, the whole instrument will be tuned and tonally balanced as well as some remedial work undertaken to the console stop action, and it is estimated the work will take between 5 and 6 weeks.

Jonathan Kingston
Associate Director of Music
April 2014