Aug. 2: Music by Former Abbey Organists

For today's Evensong, John Tuttle chose music by two former Abbey organists: the Short Service in A-flat by Orlando Gibbons and the anthem "Christe qui lux es et dies" by Robert White.

White was organist of Westminster Abbey from 1570 to 1575. Gibbons served from 1623 to 1625. Gibbons' son Christopher was later appointed. You can read about Orlando and Christopher on the Abbey website here.

Click here to read more about Robert White and the ancient hymn "Christe qui lux es et dies" (including translation).

Each day as we process from the nave into the quire, under the organ loft, we see a plaque on the left that lists all the organists of the Abbey. You can also see the full list here

Some of the other organists on this list are buried or have monuments in the west cloister, where we line up each day. For example, James Turle and Sir Frederick Bridge:

William McKie is buried in the west cloister. After his career at the Abbey, he retired to Ottawa. McKie is the great-uncle of the renowned Canadian baritone Gerald Finley.

Of course, many other famous musicians are commemorated in the Abbey. During our audio guide tour, we noted Benjamin Britten, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Edward Elgar and others. Not all are necessarily buried in the Abbey. The website has information on all famous people buried or commemorated in the building, as well as a section entitled Royals & the Abbey. Explore these alphabetical lists to find out more.

To hear a podcast about two other famous organists of Westminster Abbey, click here. This podcast features St. Thomas's parishioner Larry Beckwith, artistic director of Toronto Masque Theatre, sharing details about the life and music of Henry Purcell and John Blow. Larry's talk was the first in the St. Thomas's Lunch and Learn series called "Luminaries of Westminster Abbey," a fundraiser for the tour and for parish outreach programs.


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