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O My People

For Good Friday the Choir will sing The Reproaches, a piece from the 20th century English composer John Sanders, OBE (1933-2003).

John Sanders with choristers at Gloucester Cathedral
Photograph from The Sanders Society http://www.sanderssociety.org.uk

Sanders studied at the Royal College of Music and was organ scholar at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge.

After university, he ran the choir at Chester Cathedral before becoming Organist and Master of the Choristers at Gloucester Cathedral between 1967 and 1994.

During his time at Gloucester, Sanders acted as artistic director and festival conductor of the Three Choirs Festival on the nine occasions when the Cathedral hosted the festival.

The Reproaches, written in 1993, is a beautiful work. It’s lyrics are taken from the liturgy for Good Friday.

The Crosses on Good Friday by 50% Chance of Rain
Photograph from Flickr.com http://www.flickr.com/photos/fiftypercentchanceofrain/

O my people, what have I done to you? How have I offended you? Answer me!
Holy is God! Holy and strong! Holy immortal One, have mercy on us.

i. I led you out of Egypt, from slavery to freedom, but you led your Saviour to the cross.

ii. For forty years I led you safely through the desert. I fed you with manna from heaven, and brought you to a land of plenty: but you led your Saviour to the cross.

iii. What more could I have done for you? I planted you as my fairest vine, but you yielded only bitterness: When I was thirsty you gave me vinegar to drink, and you pierced your Saviour’s side with a lance.

iv. I opened the sea before you, but you opened my side with a spear. I led you on your way in a pillar of cloud, but you led me to Pilate’s court.

v. I bore you up with manna in the desert, but you struck me down and scourged me. I gave you saving water from the rock, but you gave me gall and vinegar to drink.

vi. I gave you a royal sceptre, but you gave me a crown of thorns. I raised you to the height of majesty, but you have raised me high on a cross.

The video is the Choir of St. Paul’s Cathedral London, directed by John Scott.

The Sanders Society, whose main aims are the promotion of the music of John Sanders; supporting choral music for the liturgy, and encouraging young composers to maintain the cathedral choral tradition, have a wealth of information about John Sanders.

In particular, they link to “a detailed and fascinatingly rigorous insight into the fastidious intellectual as well as the artistic processes which lay behind the composition of [The Reproaches]” by Douglas Mason, who was a chorister under Sanders at Gloucester.


About All Saints Fulham Choir

The All Saints Fulham Church is the home of three choirs. A traditional Parish Choir who sing wide-ranging repertoire which spans nine centuries and tours regularly at home and abroad; a Gospel Choir who sing a mixture of contemporary and traditional gospel styles, and a junior choir for children from Year 3 upwards.


One thought on “O My People

  1. Ooh – I love The Reproaches! One of my fave lenten sings. We did them on Palm Sunday. Best Easter wishes to you all! Charly xx

    Posted by Charly | April 5, 2012, 10:42 pm

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