Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Westminster Abbey Choral Evensong

One aspect of the contemporary Church of England about which traditionalists like Peter Hitchens have complained is that the traditional prayers for the royal family tend to be left out and replaced by trendy references to the latest global crises, usually far removed geographically from the United Kingdom. This is certainly normally true of the Choral Evensongs broadcast weekly by the BBC. So it was a pleasure (though not surprising, considering the location) listening to today's live broadcast from Westminster Abbey to finally hear the officiant give HM the Queen, HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, HRH the Prince of Wales, and all the Royal Family their appropriate place in the Church's prayers. The service, featuring music by Henry Purcell in honour of the 350th anniversary of his birth, was quite musically outstanding as well (as was last week's from King's College Cambridge). Prayers thanking God for the contributions of Purcell, other composers and musicians in general were also appreciated by this royalist musician. I encourage readers to make use of this great internet resource.

Of course, all UK Choral Evensongs do still include "O Lord, Save the Queen" as part of the Responses, while in the US even the finest Episcopal churches have to make do with the awkward (and arguably problematic) American substitution "O Lord, Save the State."

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