Sunday 13th November is Remembrance Sunday. All across the country people will pause to reflect on the sacrifices made by brave Service men and women in conflicts around the world. It will be especially poignant this year as it is 100 years since the end of World War 1.
The Choir will sing the moving anthem Greater Love Hath No Man by English composer John Ireland (1879-1962).
Like many of his contemporaries who studied at the Royal College of Music, Sir Charles Villiers Stanford was one of his teachers at the College.
He composed many works throughout his lifetime, mainly smaller scale pieces e.g. songs, piano works, chamber music, and church music including the popular tune Love Unknown which is sung to the hymn My Song is Love Unknown.
He was a composition teacher at the Royal College of Music (where his pupils included Benjamin Britten and E. J. Moeran), and from 1904-1926, he was organist and choirmaster at St. Luke’s Church, Chelsea, in London.
Greater Love Hath no Man was initially composed in 1912 for just choir and organ, however, Ireland later revisited it and added an orchestral accompaniment.
Greater Love Hath No Man
Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it.
Love is strong as death.
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness.
Ye are washed, ye are sanctified, ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation;
That ye should show forth the praises of him who hath call’d you out of darkness into his marvellous light.
I beseech you brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies, a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto to God, which is your reasonable service.
The text of the motet is taken from several different parts of the Bible these include Song of Solomon 8:7,6; John 15:13; 1 Peter 2:24; 1 Corinthians 6:11; 1 Peter 2:9; and Romans 12:1.
The video is Greater Love Hath no Man performed by the Choir of St Paul’s Cathedral. Soloist: Thomas Kelly.