Anthems

After the Restoration, and throughout the eighteenth-century, the anthem remained the most important form of Anglican church music in cathedrals and at the Chapel Royal. By contrast, congregational chanting and lining out of psalms and hymns remained common practice in most parish churches.

1) Full anthems , when the full choir sang all the time, soon became old-fashioned: thus, Purcell stopped composing them after 1682.

2) Verse anthems consisted in a succession of more or less distinct verses for one or more soloists accompanied by organ continuo , alternating with movements sung by the full choir.

3) Symphony anthems added orchestral accompaniment, played by violins (for instance, the Royal string orchestra), or trumpets (at the Chapel Royal only, i.e. the chapel

for the Royal household, not in cathedrals). Thus, Handel ’s Anthem for the Foundling Hospital, composed in 1749, introduces and punctuates each of the aptly chosen verses, adapted from several excerpts from the Biblical book of Psalms, with a short string symphony.

 

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