Everybody is welcome to join us for any of our services, even if you are just curious!
The usual pattern of services is:
10.30am Choral Parish Mass (Eucharist)
On the 4th Sunday of the month (apart from in August) we have Choral Evensong at 6pm.
12:30pm Coffee Hour
7pm BCP Eucharist followed by Bible Study and Prayer Group
We are currently streaming the services over Facebook as well as welcoming people into the cchurch building. We invite you to please wear a mask to help protect others if you intend to come in person.
St Mark's Hamilton Terrace
St Mark's Church
114 Hamilton Terrace
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to enquire about bookings.
To discuss weddings, Christenings or to speak to a priest for any other reason Tel: 020 7328 4373 (vicar) Please note: the vicar is unable to help with hall bookings.
E-mail the parish office on: email@example.com
Or use our contact form.
Check back here regularly to find out what music we are playing this week at St Mark's Hamilton Terrace.
Sunday 7th February
Wood O Thou The Central Orb
Charles Wood (1866-1926) is most remembered for his sizeable contribution to the Anglican choral tradition (over 250 works!), but he only started writing church music towards the end of his life, much of it published after his death. However, church music was a part of his life from the beginning; he was a chorister at Armagh Cathedral as a boy, and became a fine organist.
He spent his entire musical career in the academic world, beginning as one of the inaugural students at the newly founded Royal College of Music in 1883. His teachers included fellow Irishman Charles Villiers Stanford and the great Charles Hubert Hastings Parry, and as a young man he wrote many larger works not dissimilar from theirs, including music for plays, cantatas, a Passion, a piano concerto and at least 6 string quartets, as well as solo songs and operatic works. He went on to teach at RCM, where his most famous pupils were Ralph Vaughn Williams and Herbert Howells. From 1888, his musical home was Cambridge, where he was initially organ scholar at Selwyn College, and then migrated to Gonville and Caius, gaining his doctorate in 1894. Fun fact; he also wrote the chimes of the college clock at Gonville and Caius, where he became the first Director of Music. He was a great enabler of music-making, encouraging musical events, and conducting the Cambridge University Musical Society. Though by all accounts a quiet and unassuming man, Wood’s music is full of powerful emotion and character, and his appreciation for poetry and the spoken word can be detected through the way he sets texts with great skill and sensitivity.
The text for our anthem this week is O Thou The Central Orb, penned by Oxford poet and priest Henry Ramsden Bramley. It’s a grand, dazzling vision of the majestic glory of Christ, surrounded by His saints, reminiscent of similar descriptions in the book of Revelation. Full of hope and joy, it lifts our eyes to Jesus as the One who brings light, life, and transformation to our souls. There are many depictions of light in the poetry, such as ‘beam’, ‘radiance’, ‘glory’, ‘lustre’ etc and Wood’s music illustrates the text with brilliant clarity and richness, saving the highest note in the piece for the word ‘pure’ in the final line.
The music was originally written in 1914 or 1915, but was first published in 1933 in The Church Anthem Book. It is structured in three distinct sections. Sweeping upward leaps in the soprano line characterise the joyful mood of the outer sections, for me bringing to mind images of vaulted cathedral architecture. The quieter middle section introduces a more mysterious feel, with a bass section solo and then much stiller, longer phrases in all parts for the middle verse. When the music from the opening returns at the words ‘Let Thy bright beams disperse..’ it quite literally disperses the previous mood in a burst of joy, gathering momentum in both the vocal parts and the organ, reaching the climax of the work in a huge triumphal ‘Amen’.
‘O thou, the central orb of righteous love, Pure beam of the most High, eternal Light Of this our wintry world, Thy radiance bright Awakes new joy in faith. Hope soars above.’
‘Come, quickly come, and let thy glory shine, Gilding our darksome heaven with rays Divine.’
Thy saints with holy lustre round Thee
As stars about thy throne, set in the height
Of God’s ordaining counsel, as Thy sight
Gives measured grace to each, Thy power to prove.
‘Let Thy bright beams disperse the gloom of sin, Our nature all shall feel eternal day
In fellowship with thee, transforming
To souls erewhile unclean, now pure within. Amen.’