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Anglican Tidbit: Once in Royal David’s City (Cathedral of St. John the Divine)

Word WST-9021-LP (1964)

People who were brought up in the “Old High Church” (Episcopal) will find themselves flooded with memories of Christmas past with this classic from the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, with their choir led by Alec Wyton, Organist and Master of Chorister. As was the case, the only instrument allowed was the pipe organ. Although this limited the accompaniment (and some of the pieces are a capella) in the hands of Wyton the organ’s considerable arsenal of resources were in full evidence.

This is a very nice rendition of a genre of Christmas music that, sadly, has fallen out of favour and our culture.

Note on the label: Although other sources reveal that the album was put out by Word, the famous gospel music label from Waco, Texas, which would spawn so many labels of the “Jesus Music” era, there is absolutely no reference to it on the cover (although it may be on the edge.) Evidently, as I say often on my blog, the Episcopal snobs didn’t want their masterwork associated with those impecunious rednecks after all!

The songs:

  1. The Prophecy-A Plainsong Hymn
  2. The Prophecy-A German Carol
  3. Organ Prelude
  4. The Annunciation-A Basque Carol
  5. The Nativity-Once in David’s Royal City
  6. An English Carol-Away in a Manger
  7. Fanfare and O Come All Ye Faithful
  8. The Epiphany Organ Prelude We Three Kings: Alec Wyton
  9. The Epiphany We Three Kings: Robert Martin, Charles Cole, George Brooker
  10. The First Nowell


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