Tag Archives: herbert howells

Howells

Wednesday evening.

I find no better way to relax after two days of faculty meetings, totaling nine hours of time with colleagues, than to listen to choral music of Herbert Howells.

Tonight, it’s the Requiem, perhaps my favorite work by HH.   I have this newish recording by Conspirare and Craig Hella Johnson, and it’s delightful indeed.


Our faculty meetings were fruitful.  Tiring.  Enlivening.  Productive.  Nine hours of meetings over two will never be fun, but enough humor allowed us to break and laugh, and we spent time charting the next few years of the Webster University Department of Music.


Meanwhile, I fell on Sunday.  In my yard.  On my tush.

And while nothing is broken, I’m sore, and all this sitting today has left me feeling poorly tonight.

Alas. The joys of getting older.

London Wednesday

Good morning from London.

I arrived last evening at dusk and had a quick jaunt through HM Border Control and Customs, and then onward to the Heathrow Express and central London.

My AirBnB is a delightful ground-floor flat less than two blocks from the Lambeth North stop on the Underground. A Tesco and a Sainsbury’s are both adjacent to that Tube stop, so grocery shopping is easy.

I’ve had my breakfast of scrambled eggs and seedy toast with strawberry jam.  (I do love bread that seems to include pine cones and squirrel droppings.  In my opinion, the heartier the forest products in the bread, the better.)

Now 9.15 a.m., I need to figure out what I’m doing today, but I think it will include (since rain the order of the day) a day indoors, including some Herbert Howells research at the Royal College of Music.

Here’s the view from my bedroom this morning:

And this view from the Austrain Airlines flight includes the Thames Barrier and the O2 Dome:

These massive, double-decked Airbus jets always amaze me:

Rest in peace, Herbert

Today is the 121st anniversary of the birth of Herbert Howells.  Last year on this day I attended an all-HH Evensong at Gloucester Cathedral.

Today, I am saying a memorial Morning Prayer with intentions for HH, listening solely to his music (including Daniel Bara and East Carolina University’s performance of his Requiem), and reading a chapter of the new HH compendium.

HH is the on-going life-work research subject.  May he rest in peace.

Bristol & St. Mary’s Redcliffe

There’s nothing like a 30-minute each-way walk in the southwest England heat to get the blood going!

I visited this afternoon St. Mary Redcliffe, an old local parish with an incredibly preserved Gothic structure. Herbert Howells wrote music for this parish, so I simply had to visit.

Getting ready to leave, I noticed that Evening Prayers would commence in five minutes, so I joined the lector in the Lady Chapel for a 25-minute prayer service.  My friends and colleagues in the GHTC choir were named aloud, with prayers offered for safe passage, and for peace of heart and mind, as they must surely be tremendously frustrated and tired at this point.

Those of us who are here in Bristol will join for dinner in an hour’s time.  I understand that we’ll be going to Exeter tomorrow to be tourists and sing Evensong no matter what.  The KC contingent is to arrive at Manchester in early morning, but they will be wheezing in to make it by time for Evensong, and then will surely be exhausted as well.

No matter.  All will be well, as God is in heaven, and as my birthday will come ‘round no matter who is here to celebrate and make merry.

Twigworth

Twigworth, in Gloucestershire, is the final resting place of Ivor Gurney and Michael Howells.  Gurney, a life-long friend of Herbert Howells, never was the same after being gassed and shocked in World War I.  His place in English poetry and music, though, is assured.  Michael Howells, son of Herbert, died at age 9 in 1935, leaving his father bereft and limp, and forever changing the course of Howells’ compositional and creative life.

I visited the Twigworth churchyard on Wednesday.