I’m not a heretic when I affirm that all music can be Christian music, to the believer who dedicates it to Christ. The composer who writes a symphony and dedicates it to God creates ‘worship music’, in my view. Even music without words can form our wordless praise to God. These tracks, all of which I’d call sacred music, reflect God, our great creator and inspirer. Somewhere, in all music, I sense his presence.
‘Oh who am I? (My song is love unknown)’ by Helen- Jane Howells with All Souls Orchestra
Samuel Crossman’s familiar hymn words are given an unusual treatment. “But O my friend, my friend indeed, who at my need his life did spend.” Sung by the opera singer Helen-Jane Howells, the words sound as if they were written today, rather than 1664. It’s is a perfect fusion of truth and sentiment.
‘Better than I know myself’ by Cliff Richard
The best-ever contemporary take on Psalm 139: Lord, you “were there, at the moment I began / Lord, you are here… you are with me all the time / You’ll be there, when the end of time has come”. This Judy MacKenzie / Dave Cooke song is, for me, evergreen and searching!
‘Dambusters’ march’ (Psalm 46 adapted by Richard Bewes) by the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble
This may seem a strange coupling: a tune about war matched to lyrics that declare: “Wars will cease across the world when he shatters the spear”. Ironically, congregations rise with unbridled enthusiasm when given a chance to sing this. I’m incapable of not singing along whenever I hear the tune, using Richard’s brilliant Psalm transcription.
‘Feeling good’ by Beverley Trotman with All Souls Orchestra
I would like to hope that Beverley Trotman’s effervescent singing will make you feel as good as I do when I listen to her! Beverley, an X Factor hit singer, has joie de vivre in her heart and a strong Christian faith – the expression of which I find totally beguiling.
Prom Praise 2022 returns to the Royal Albert Hall, celebrating All Souls Orchestra’s 50 Year Anniversary with an exciting lineup of special guests and a global digital broadcast. Find tickets at royalalberthall.com and allsoulsmusic.org