Archive for the ‘Walter Galpin Alcock’ Tag

Feast of John Stainer and Walter Galpin Alcock (September 11)   Leave a comment

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Above:  Salisbury Cathedral, Between 1910 and 1920

Publisher and Copyright Claimant = Detroit Publishing Company

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-D4-73193

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SIR JOHN STAINER (JUNE 6, 1840-APRIL 1,1901)

Anglican Church Organist and Composer

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SIR WALTER GALPIN ALCOCK (DECEMBER 19, 1861-SEPTEMBER 11, 1947 )

Anglican Church Organist and Composer

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This post is one which falls into a certain pattern:  one saint led me to another.  In this case the pupil led me to the teacher.

John Stainer (1840-1901), born at London, England, was a chorister at St. Paul’s Cathedral there from 1847 to 1856.  At that tender age the prodigy began to compose church music and play the organ.  Aged only fourteen years, our saint became the Organist for St. Benet and St. Peter’s, Paul’s Wharf.  Two years later he left that church for St. Michael’s, Tenbury, where he fulfilled the same duties.  In 1859 Stainer began his studies at Oxford, where he became the Organist at Magdalen College.  From 1863 to 1872 he was the Organist of the University.  Then, from 1872 to 1888, Stainer served as the Organist at St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, where his musical journey had begun.

Stainer also taught the playing of the organ at the National Training School for Music, at which he became the Principal in 1881.  Our saint, knighted in 1888, taught at Oxford from 1889 to 1899.

Stainer edited hymnals, composed music, and wrote about music.  He wrote the Dictionary of Musical Terms and Early Bodleian Music:  Dufay and His Contemporaries, for example.  He composed anthems, an oratorio (Gideon), and cantatas:

  • The Daughter of Jairus (1878);
  • Saint Mary Madgalen (1883); and
  • The Crucifixion (1887).

Walter Galpin Alcock (1861-1947) was among Stainer’s pupils at the National Training School for Music.  Alcock, born  at Edenbridge, Kent, was also a prodigy.  In 1873 he became the Assistant Organist at St. Mary’s Church, Twickenham; he filled the Organist position six years later.  Alcock played the organ at the Church of the Annunciation, Portman Square, from 1887 to 1895, then at Holy Trinity, Sloane Square, from 1895 to 1902.  From 1896 to 1916 Alcock also functioned as the Assistant Organist at Westminster Abbey.  He served also as the Organist at the Chapel Royal from 1902 to 1916.  His final church assignment was at Salisbury Cathedral, where he was the Organist and Choirmaster from 1917 to his death in 1947.

Alcock, knighted in 1933, taught the organ at his alma mater, the National Training School for Music, and composed much church music for the organ.  He also played the organ for three coronations:  those for Edward VIII (reigned 1901-1910), George V (reigned 1910-1936), and George VI (1936-1952).

Good church music is invaluable; may nobody underestimate its worth.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 11, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT BARNABAS THE APOSTLE, COWORKER OF THE APOSTLE PAUL

THE FEAST OF VERNON JOHNS, NATIONAL BAPTIST PASTOR AND CIVIL RIGHTS PIONEER

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Eternal God, light of the world and Creator of all that is good and lovely:

We bless your name for inspiring John Stainer and Walter Galpin Alcock

and all who with music have filled us with desire and love for you;

through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit

lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 29:14b-19

Psalm 90:14-17

2 Corinthians 3:1-3

John 21:15-17, 24-25

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 728

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