Anthem of the Month – August 2021.

Lord be Thy Word my Rule by Philip More (b.1943)

The composer writes:

‘Each year I visit Christ Church, Greenwich CT USA, where there is a vigorous and successful music programme.  When choristers leave the choir, usually when they are about to go to University, their departure is marked with a dignified ceremony and, quite often, an anthem written for them.  Lord, be thy word my rule was written for the 2020 leavers.  Sadly, Covid 19 prevented me from travelling.  

The words, based on Psalm 16 verse 8 "I have set God always before me" are by Bishop Christopher Wordsworth (1807 - 1885).  He was Bishop of Lincoln and a nephew of the poet William Wordsworth.’

As with other pieces by this composer - who was Francis Jackson’s successor at York Minster – this short anthem presents an engaging flexibility of rhythm, mirroring the natural rise and fall of the text.  The musical journey, starting and ending quietly, works up to a substantial climax for the words ‘Thine arm my strong support’. The piece is as gracious to sing as it is to hear, and with a fully supportive organ part, is perfectly formed.

Lord be Thy Word my Rule