Living cat­a­logues: from Mundy to Moore

Over the past two years the Royal School of Church Mu­sic (RSCM) has sig­nif­i­cantly ex­panded its pub­lish­ing port­fo­lio with the ac­qui­si­tion of two lead­ing church mu­sic pub­lish­ers, Cathe­dral Mu­sic and Cathe­dral Press. Stu­art Robin­son has been look­ing at their

The Church of England - - FEATURE -

You only have to walk into the ex­hibitors’ hall at one of our mu­sic con­fer­ences to see that nowa­days there are many sheet mu­sic pub­lish­ers of all shapes and sizes. That wasn’t the case when Simon Hill and Richard Barnes (Alto Vicar Choral at St Paul’s Cathe­dral and Or­gan­ist of Holy Trinity, Bromp­ton, re­spec­tively) founded Cathe­dral Mu­sic in 1977. Their new ven­ture was a re­sponse to the con­tract­ing cat­a­logues of large UK pub­lish­ers, es­pe­cially in the realm of church mu­sic. Since then a cat­a­logue now to­talling 1,000 ti­tles, rang­ing from an­thems and Com­mu­nion set­tings to ser­vice mu­sic and works for or­gan and orches­tra, has been de­vel­oped.

Now Cathe­dral Mu­sic has been taken un­der the RSCM’s wing and al­ready 65 of their choral works are avail­able through the RSCM’s on­line shop. Stan­ford and Parry fea­ture large, as do works by mod­ern day com­posers such as Philip Moore, Richard Lloyd and Pa­trick Gow­ers.

There are also com­par­a­tively re­cent edi­tions of older works edited by em­i­nent mu­si­col­o­gists such as Mau­rice Be­van, An­thony Green­ing, Peter le Hu­ray and De­nis Stevens.

As its name im­plies, the com­pany has been a regular sup­plier of ad­vanced choral reper­toire to many cathe­drals and col­le­giate chapels. Although RSCM ac­quired Cathe­dral Mu­sic last year, its erst­while co-owner Richard has been re­tained as a con­sul­tant to ad­vise cus­tomers on rare ex­ist­ing reper­toire, as well as pub­lish­ing new works.

On the other hand, Cathe­dral Press has its cen­tre of grav­ity fur­ther back in time, with around 60 edi­tions of choral works from the 16th, 17th and 18th cen­turies. It was founded by the Welsh mu­si­col­o­gist Dr Peter James in 1997, to pub­lish clear per­form­ing edi­tions of his­toric mu­sic manuscripts, based on his own PhD re­search.

The first set of edi­tions in­cluded verse an­thems by the 17th cen­tury Welsh-born com­poser Thomas Tomkins, and now an­thems and motets by Bat­ten, Weelkes, Byrd and Gabrieli fea­ture in its ex­ten­sive cat­a­logue. The RSCM ac­qui­si­tion of Cathe­dral Press came about fol­low­ing the sud­den death two years ago of its then co-edi­tor David Evans. David, a warm and af­fa­ble man, was a mu­sic lec­turer at Ban­gor Uni­ver­sity, and had taken over Cathe­dral Press in 2010 along with fel­low lec­turer Graeme Cot­ter­ill.

One of David’s most no­table projects was to re­search an­thems found in part­books at Chirk Cas­tle on the An­gloW­elsh bor­der. They make a won­der­ful Re­nais­sance playlist of works by Mundy, Par­sons and Tal­lis, amongst oth­ers, and led to a CD record­ing by the Bra­bant En­sem­ble on the Hype­r­ion la­bel. I’d rec­om­mend look­ing at videos about Weelkes, Bat­ten and the Chirk manuscripts on the Cathe­dral Press page on the RSCM on­line shop. And the pro­duc­tion of new edi­tions un­der the Cathe­dral Press imprint is con­tin­u­ing, with David Wul­stan cur­rently work­ing on an­thems by John Tavener.

Over­see­ing both the Cathe­dral Press and Cathe­dral Mu­sic im­prints is the RSCM’s Head of Pub­lish­ing, Tim Ruffer who joined the RSCM from Boosey and Hawkes in 2002. Since then he has seen the RSCM’s list of pub­li­ca­tions grow to a list of 2,000 ti­tles, in­tended for choirs large and small, a wide range of abil­i­ties, and a va­ri­ety of wor­ship styles.

“We are ex­pand­ing our ap­peal to cathe­dral and col­le­giate chapels by in­tro­duc­ing more con­tem­po­rary reper­toire,” he said. “Broad­en­ing our scope en­ables us to pub­lish a wider range of mu­sic for choirs that up till now wouldn’t have been in our re­mit.”

Back in the ex­hibitors’ hall at our mu­sic con­fer­ences, the RSCM stand – which al­ways gen­er­ates plenty of in­ter­est – will in fu­ture be groan­ing with a wider range of works: a living and pre­cious cat­a­logue of our choral her­itage. Stu­art Robin­son is the RSCM’s Me­dia Re­la­tions Or­gan­iser and Wales Co­or­di­na­tor

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