A welcome from our Director of Music

Here at Christ Church Cathedral we are proud of our musical tradition. From its earliest days, music has played a central role in our community, supporting our congregation in their worship, as well as providing support, encouragement and training for countless musicians over the decades. Indeed, a significant number of Canada's leading church musicians spent their formative years in our music programme.

In times of difficulty the church has always been there to support the world around it, and music and the arts have often played a central role in providing hope and comfort for many, as well as a much-needed dose of continuity and spiritual enrichment. Our music programme and musicians have continued to find new ways of working throughout the current lockdown, creating a steady stream of music to enrich our worship and support those who need us most. On these pages you will find a rich and growing collection of musical materials and content which we hope will help you through these difficult times. Please explore the collection and check back regularly for updates. All of this work is only possible through the continued support and generosity of our congregation and friends, so if you feel able to make an offering towards the musical work of the Cathedral, then you can do so securely here.

Latest updates

Music & Liturgy for Zoom Worship - A webinar with our Director of Music

Women of the Church Part IV

Psalms 10-14

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Like a rainbow

 

An English Rhapsody: Harold Darke's Rhapsody Op 4

Psalms & Hymns
Singing hymns and psalms has been a part of Christian worship for thousands of years, and traces its roots much further back into the history of Jewish temple rituals. Here you can find a variety of different resources that you can use at home in your own prayer life, or simply to enjoy.

Psalms 10-14

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The Lutheran Chorale

Women of the Church Part III

Meet the Welseys

The Complete Psalter: Psalms 7-9

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Early American Folk Hymns

The Complete Psalter: Psalms 4-6

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Women of the Church: Part 2

The Complete Psalter: Psalms 1-3

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Gregorian Chant 101

Psalm 118: O give thanks to the Lord for He is gracious

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Psalm 80: Hear O thou shepherd of Israel

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The Oxford movement & Anglo-Catholicism in Victorian Hymns

Psalm 89: My song shall alway be of the loving kindness of the Lord

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Psalm 97: The Lord is King

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Women of the Church: Part I

Psalm 72: Give the King thy judgments, O God

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Christian Song Across the Centuries: An Introduction

Psalm 121: I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills

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Psalm 55: Hear my prayer

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Singing the Psalms - A history of Anglican Chant

Psalm 122 - I was glad

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The King of Love - Behind the Scenes

Psalm 22

How shall I sing that majesty?

 
Our Choir
Although physically distant, our choir continues to work with the same fervour and determination as we would when our building is open. We continue to work on a number of online projects to enable us to unite our voices as one, and you can find these below:

Like a Rainbow - Will Todd

Great Lord of lords - Orlando Gibbons

Te Deum in F - John Ireland

Jubilate in B flat - Sir Charles Villiers Stanford

O for a closer walk with God - Sir Charles Villiers Stanford

Sicut cervus - Giovannia Pierluigi da Palestrina

Evensong & Vespers
Christ Church Cathedral is one of only a small number of churches in North America that offers Choral Evensong on a weekly basis throughout the year, in recognition of the fundamental place of the Daily Office in our Anglican identity and heritage. While Anglicanism has changed enormously in its now almost 500-year history, and many today find the language of the Book of Common Prayer both outdated and inaccessible, the simple yet effective service structured around psalms, readings and the opportunity to reflect on these ancient texts that have tied Christians together for thousands of years still resonates with many Anglicans, and increasingly non-believers and those exploring their faith, today. In this extended period of self-isolation and social distancing, it has become increasingly difficult for us to maintain a strict service of Choral Evensong while our Cathedral building is closed and our choir is unable to meet. We continue to explore ways of engaging our musicians to enrich not only our worship, but the wider devotional and cultural life of our community, but we also recognise the importance of people being able to interact with live worship, even if they do so from afar. Working within this framework, our Music & Liturgy team have devised a service of Organ Vespers that we will offer today, and for future Sundays until such time as we feel able to re-evaluate how the Cathedral continues to respond to the pandemic and the effects that it has on our worship life. Evensong itself is derived from the combination of Vespers and Compline that Thomas Cranmer first devised when working on the Book of Common Prayer in the Sixteenth Century. The term ‘vespers’ has its origins in both Ancient Greek and Latin where it just meant ‘evening’, and services that recognise the images of day and night and their allegories within the wider Christian narrative can be found in almost all denominations. Although we might typically think of Vespers as being a Catholic office, the term Organ Vespers has its origins in Lutheranism, which itself has had a pre-established evening service for centuries. Indeed, many of Bach’s cantatas would originally have been heard within this context. Our service this evening, while not new of itself, has drawn on a number of different influences in its construction. Those of you familiar with Evensong will, we hope, still recognise the overall shape of psalms and readings, interspersed with musical items and prayers which give time and space for reflection. Yet, there are also hints of the more traditional Catholic Vespers with the Magnificat taking centre-stage in what is an elaborate duet between voice and organ. For many centuries, there existed an ‘alternatim’ practice, where the ‘choir’ (often priests and monks) would chant the appointed texts, with organ improvisations interpreting the intermediate verses. This is a practice that, in practical terms, has all but fallen into abeyance, but which still exists in more academic circles. Thus, while you will not hear the entire Magnificat text verbally enunciated, each organ interlude, nevertheless, is inspired by the spirit and essence of the verse it replaces. While the eventual format of this service is, at least in part, unconventional, we live in unconventional times where the challenge presented to us is to maintain our regular prayer life, to see and to seek familiarity, yet also to rejoice in the diversity and possibilities that what are difficult times for us all still present. Throughout the Bible, there are instances where the faithful had to adapt, to change, and be ready to accept that they couldn’t always do things the way they had done so, or in the ways in which they felt they should be done. Yet they still remained true to themselves and to their faith, and we at Christ Church continue to do all that we can to do likewise. Here you can find archive recordings of our Organ Vespers services, as well as select Evensong recordings.

Organ Vespers - 5 July

Organ Vespers - 21 June

Organ Vespers - 14 June

Organ Vespers for the Feast of Pentecost - 31 May

Organ Vespers for the Feast of the Ascension - 24 May

Organ Vespers for Easter 6 - 17 May

Organ Vespers for Easter 5 - 10 May

Organ Vespers for Easter 4 - 3 May

Sung Evensong - 12 April

Sung Evensong - 5 April

Sung Evensong - 29 March

 
Music Education

Education has been central to the church for its entire history, and many of the great schools and universities of the world started life as religious communities or church-sponsored institutions. Christ Church has a long history of supporting young people and providing a supportive environment for aspiring musicians. Over the coming weeks and months we hope to make available a variety of educational resources that you can use to enrich your own musical knowledge, and we hope that these will also provide the springboard for much independent study and exploration.

The Lutheran Chorale

Women of the Church Part III

Meet the Welseys

Early American Folk Hymns

An English Rhapsody: Harold Darke's Rhapsody Op 4

Women of the Church: Part 2

In a Green Pasture: Herbert Howells & Psalm 23

Gregorian Chant 101

The Oxford movement & Anglo-Catholicism in Victorian Hymns

Organ Vespers Preview - Mendelssohn's First Organ Sonata

Women of the Church: Part I

Christian Song Across the Centuries: An Introduction

Nick Capozzoli introduces this week's Organ Vespers

Singing the Psalms - A history of Anglican Chant

Nicolas de Grigny and the Veni Creator

The organ music of Samuel Scheidt

Organ Music
Our organists continue to work hard to provide our community with a rich and varied diet of organ music from across history, something they are used to enjoying while in the building. Here you will find a growing library of organ music for your own enjoyment.

Rhapsody Op 4 - Harold Darke

Psalm Prelude Set 1, no. 3 - Herbert Howells

Music of Joy & Hope: A Quarantine Concert

Elegy - Sir George Thalben Ball

Magnificat Suite du Second Ton - Jean-Adam Guilain

Prelude & Fugue in C minor, BWV 546 - Johann Sebastian Bach

Parish Music Support

As mother church of the Diocese of Montreal, we have always been committed to supporting the musical life of our sister parishes wherever we can. During these difficult times when many churches are struggling to find ways of including music in their online worship, we have created a dedicated resource for Anglican churches in our area. Please click here for more information.