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Love is Strong as Death

Supermoon 2012
Photograph by Victor R. Caivano, AP (NationalGeographic.com)

It’s the 5th Sunday after Easter this week also known as Rogation Sunday.

Rogation comes from the Latin verb rogare which means ‘to ask’ and so Rogation Sunday is a traditional time to ask for blessing on nature and on the fields, and animals.

All Saints Fulham Choir will be singing Choral Evensong on Sunday and the anthem is Set Me as a Seal by English composer Sir William Walton (1902-1983).

He wrote the anthem to commemorate the wedding of the Ivor Guest, 2nd Viscount Wimborne and Lady Mabel Edith Fox-Strangeways. The groom was the son of one of Walton’s friends. News footage and stills of the wedding are on the British Pathe website.

This piece, whose words are from the Song of Solomon 8:6-7 in the Old Testament, is often sung at weddings and this video is taken from the Royal Wedding of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson in 1986 in Westminster Abbey.

Born in Oldham, William Walton was a chorister and undergraduate at Christ Church, Oxford. After Oxford, he went to London and stayed with the famous Sitwell family in Chelsea.

Walton became a part of the London music and cultural scene with successful works including Façade (1922), Viola Concerto (1929), Belshazzar’s Feast (1931) and Crown Imperial March for George VI‘s coronation in 1937.

During the war, he wrote scores for propaganda films including Henry V (1944) starring Laurence Olivier for which he received an Oscar nomination.

After the war, some of his work was seen as old fashioned compared with Benjamin Britten and Michael Tippitt. However, Walton was knighted in 1951 and was again asked to compose music for the coronation, this time of Queen Elizabeth.

He died aged 81 at his villa on the island of Ischia, Naples. A memorial service was held at Westminster Abbey, where a commemorative stone to Walton was unveiled near to those to Elgar and Britten.

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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.

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