All Saints Fulham Choir will be in celebration mode for Choral Evensong on Sunday 29 September. They will be joining with the Choirs of St Martin in the Field and St Luke’s Chelsea for a Festival of Choral Evensong at All Saints Church Fulham.
The 3 Choirs will sing two anthems by English composer Sir William Henry Harris – Holy is the True Light and Faire is the Heaven..
In his time at Windsor, he tutored the Princesses Elizabeth (Now Queen Elizabeth) and Margaret and he conducted many royal occasions. Harris’ own compositions were sung at the coronations of George VI in 1937 (O Thou Hearken) and Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 (Let My Prayer Come Up). He received his knighthood in 1954.
The main anthem is Faire is the Heaven for double choir. The lyrics are by the 16th century English poet Edmund Spenser.
Faire is the heaven where happy soules have place
In full enjoyment of felicitie;
Whence they do still behold the glorious face
Of the Divine, Eternall Majestie;
Yet farre more faire be those bright Cherubins
Which all with golden wings are overdight.
And those eternall burning Seraphins
Which from their faces dart out fiery light;
Yet fairer than they both and much more bright
Be the Angels and Archangels
Which attend on God’s owne person without rest or end.
These then in faire each other farre excelling
As to the Highest they approach more neare,
Yet is that Highest farre beyond all telling
Fairer than all the rest which there appeare
Though all their beauties joynd together were;
How then can mortal tongue hope to expresse
The image of such endlesse perfectnesse?
The video is Tenebrae singing the anthem.
The other anthem will be sung as an introit at the beginning of the service. The words of Holy is the True Light were written by the priest and organist, George Herbert Palmer (1846–1926), in the book The Diurnal after the Use of the Illustrious Church of Salisbury.
Holy is the True Light,
and passing wonderful,
lending radiance to them that endured
in the heat of the conflict.
From Christ they inherit
a home of unfading splendour,
wherein they rejoice with gladness evermore.
The video is the Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford