Sunday, 3 June 2012

In the Year of Jubilee

Well I thought I should do my bit for jingoism, being a staunch republican, the European variety that also equates to being a liberal, it is all a bit awkward.

Anyway music should be above such things....we hope...

Stanley Marchant (1883-1939) 
Te Deum laudamus. 
Composed for the King's Silver Jubilee Thanksgiving Service 
at St. Paul's Cathedral on Monday, 6th May 1935.

Choir of St Paul's Cathedral
Dr. Stanley Marchant Organ

HMV C 2752 
[2EA305-2 &2EA306-1]
Recorded: Monday, 6th May 1935

1 Flac  file HERE at Mediafire. [ 21Mb].

As this recording is taken from the actual Thanksgiving Ceremony, and first performance, I have not topped and tailed it. The running order is as follows if you want to skip to the music!

Lord's Prayer [0:02]
Te Deum, [0:58] 
Blessing [6:51]
God save the King [7:09]

Stanley Marchant is not a very familiar name and very little of his music has ever been recorded. I have taken the following biographical information from Grove, although this is more or less culled from the Musical Times obituary notice, extracts of which I have placed within square brackets:-

Stanley Marchant at the St Paul's organ
 'Sir Stanley Marchant, (1883-1949) English church musician, teacher and composer. He won a Goss Scholarship to the RAM, where he took prizes in composition and organ playing [the 'Battison Haynes' Prize for composition, and the 'Robert Newman' prize for organ-playing]. In 1899 he was appointed organist of Kemsing Parish Church. He moved to Christ Church, Newgate Street (1903), and then to St Peter's, Eaton Square (1913). He was made an FRCO (1902) and took the DMus at Oxford (1914). 

 'An association with St Paul's Cathedral had begun in 1903, with his appointment as second assistant [Not many years after this his devoted and loyal friend Sir George Martin, then organist at St Paul's, died, and Charles Macpherson, the sub-organist, took his place. Therefore in 1916 Marchant almost automatically became Sub-Organist and Master of the Choristers at St. Paul's. Then followed a tragedy in the early and lamented death of Macpherson. The Dean and Chapter realizing Marchant's exceptional intimacy with the music of the Cathedral appointed him, the 'Goss Scholar', to add his name to his eminent predecessors: Goss, Stainer, Martin and Macpherson. The grand traditions of St. Paul's were more than maintained by him, and the beautiful choral services were still a model for the world, not to mention those inspiring Lenten Services, when Bach's Passion Music (the St. Matthew or the St. John) was sung with such insight and moving reverence.] , and in 1927 he was made organist at a time when the building was partially closed for restoration.

 'He conducted the reopening ceremony (June 1930) and the thanksgiving service for the silver jubilee of King George V (6 May 1935), composing for each occasion a Te Deum. In 1914 he was appointed a professor at the RAM, where he became warden in 1934 and principal in 1936, relinquishing his post at St Paul's. He was then elected King Edward VII Professor of Music at London University (1937), knighted (1943) and made chairman of the council of the Royal School of Church Music (1947). In addition to anthems, canticles and other liturgical music he composed secular choral pieces, organ works and songs. Marchant's music, the finest of which was inspired by ceremonial occasions at St Paul's, is well crafted, though conservative in idiom, and shows the influence of Stanford and Parry. The choir library at St Paul's holds his complete choral works.'

[To his work as Principal of the R.A.M. he devoted great earnestness and the whole benefit of his long experience and many gifts. Of these gifts one of the most outstanding was his magnetism, which drew out the best from others. This was most apparent in his dealings with colleagues ; he placed implicit trust in them, and their trust in him never faltered, nor was ever misplaced. During this happy time many knotty problems were solved and 'concert pitch' was soon arrived at without friction or disturbance. It is very difficult to write of Sir Stanley and his life's work without exaggeration, for he had, in a quiet way, great powers of administration coupled with a most attractive personality. It was fine to see his wrath on occasions of injustice, or of conceited inefficiency-these brought his temper to the boiling point ! But, to my mind, his finest trait was his unyielding determination, and the heroic silence with which he bore for years the most crippling attacks of arthritis. Though it was a heavy handicap, no one ever heard him complain. However, all is not lost, for he has left his indelible mark on his Alma Mater which future generations will do well to try and emulate].

Probably this very 'conservatism' has done for him.

St Paul's Jubilee Service 6th May 1935

The Te Deum came at the closing of the Jubilee service held for George V and is the last of a set of three records that HMV issued of the event. HMV would have arranged with the BBC to record the service from their land-lines but before the BBC commentary was overlaid and broadcast to the Empire. In order to make a commercial issue the recording engineer first recorded the service on several recording machines which overlapped from one side to another. These would then be pressed and the sections that they wished to be issued were then dubbed on to new matrices.  This was all a bit tricky but by 1935 they had become quite adept at producing good results.

As can be seen above, a rather pretty 'sunburst' label was issued for the HMV Jubilee records. The company also produced a number of similar labelled issues - quite a few of which I seem to have, clearly succumbing to the royal influence -below are the pages from the 1938-39 HMV catalogue that list the rather odd celebratory material. 

My post title by the way comes from In the Year of Jubilee, a novel by George Gissing, well worth reading.


  1. Marvelous - just my kind of thing.

    By the way, you identify "Marchant" as "Marston" in a few places above.

  2. Thanks Buster, have to keep you happy - my language skills are all a bit poor anyway due to some 'learning difficulties' which today is termed dyslexia etc. - just that I can't see these mistakes unless pointed out, For I read it as 'Marchant' but my fingers type 'Marston' all very weird.