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West Gallery Forum

This Forum has been set up for members of the West Gallery Music Association and any others who are interested in the music, the literature (starting with Thomas Hardy!) and the social life and times during which musicians played and sang in the galleries - usually at the west end - of our country churches. It is hoped that, in time, this may become the forum for debate on scholarly and not-so-scholarly matters. Please use this space wisely, and within the accepted bounds required for such a discussion group.

To write a new message, use the "Post Message" button below. To post an answer on one of the message threads, use the button at the bottom of the message to which you are replying. Please note that "anonymous" or impersonal emails are discouraged, and may be removed.

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Test message - please disregard
WGMA Chairman, Sun Oct 12 5:53pm
A problem has been reported so I am testing our ability to post messages. As you are able to read this, I must have succeeded!


Print Runs
tonysing, Wed Sep 17 6:55pm
Does anyone know if there was a standard print run for a collection of psalms and/or anthems composed by a WG composer? There must have been a mininmum number to break even and cover the engraving and printing costs. Would it have been in the low hundreds, high hundreds, ...?


PhD thesis on Scottish RC music 1789-1829
David Welch, Fri Sep 12 2:51pm
I have just read the 350-page thesis that gained Shelagh Noden a well-deserved PhD. To see an electronic version use the link below and search on Noden: http://www.abdn.ac.uk/library/collections/ The thesis extends to lowland Scotland the work of Thomas Muir on RC music in England - a 2004 Durham PhD and a 2008 book... more


Worthwhile exposure on Radio 3
David Welch, Sun Apr 20 7:42pm
Folk with 20 minutes to spare and use of iPlayer would enjoy listening to the first part of 18th Century Music: The Choir, broadcast on Radio 3 at 4 pm Sunday 20th April. Sally Drage deftly guided the programme`s host around 4 recordings of WG music, and told some basics about the WGMA. There was a fine start to the... more

  • William Kethe's Psalm 91 OV
    Edwin Macadam, Wed Mar 5 2:32am
    Can anyone please confirm the wording of William Kethe's Psalm 91 OV, as in the Scottish Psalter of 1635? The Church Of God's website at www.cgmusic.org has a query in verse 3, thus: 3 He surely will thee freely set Far from the crafty hunter's snare, So that thou needst not fear his net, Nor yet for plagues no white... more

  • Lined-out psalmody.
    WGMA Chairman, Wed Feb 26 10:47pm
    I have been corresponding recently with Charles Olegar of Vermont, USA, regarding the practice of lining-out psalms. His most recent question deserves wider attention so I post it here, verbatim, on his behalf ... One 19th c. written account of, I believe, New England precented psalmody seems to suggest that rather... more


    Funeral hymn "Aries"
    Francis Roads, Thu Feb 20 9:08am
    Folks: I have received this message by email. Can anyone help this guy? "I heard the funeral Hymn Aries by Joseph Williams on U Tube, and would like to purchase the sheet music, could you give me any advise. Jonathan Bekenn jonathanjbekenn@gmail.com "

  • Cookes canon
    roger davies, Mon Jan 27 4:04pm
    I have an mp3 of Cookes canon, which is clearly West Gallery, but I can find no more about it. It seems not even to be mentioned on the internet, though there is a version on Spotify, labelled University College Chapel, but with no further details. Can anyone enlighten me? Thanks

  • West Galleries in the East Indies
    Francis Roads, Tue Jan 7 10:47am
    I have received an email from Andrew Yong (andrew_at_yong.org.my). He writes: "We are currently looking into reconstructing the west gallery of St George’s Church, Penang (consecrated 1819), which was destroyed by Japanese bombing in WWII, in order to house a new pipe organ. We know that in the 1830s the gallery... more

  • Thomas Clark Quire
    David Le Breton, Sat Dec 21 7:25pm
    Having been a member of the Thomas Clark Quire for a few years and having been saddened by its closure about two years ago because of lack of support I am sorry to see it is still listed on your website. The entry mentions a "recruitment drive" in 2012, but it did not succeed. Its own website implies that it is still... more

  • Radio 4 Carol Series
    David Welch, Thu Dec 12 2:28pm
    Just in case anybody on this forum hasn`t been aware, there is a daily 15-minute programme about carols at 1.45 pm on R4 all this week and next week. The presenter is Jeremy Summerley, and from the trails at least one familiar WG voice will be contributing. JS is packing a lot of material into a short time, giving... more


  • Transfiguration Sunday
    Francis Roads, Thu Dec 5 10:44am
    Does anyone know of a good WG anthem for Transfiguration Sunday?

  • Audio of WG 'New Britain'
    M. McConeghy, Tue Oct 1 10:16pm
    Please forgive my ignorance of WG - I have heard of and about it thru Bruce Randall in Boston, USA. I apologize if I am too far off topic for this site. Not to be too round about - music friends in New Zealand who routinely do traditional 19th C dance are producing a show of settler days in NZ ca. 1840s and the... more


    Abbeystead
    Roger Jackson, Sun Sep 8 11:24pm
    I'm searching so far without success for this tune to Ps37 Though Wicked men... Can anyone point me to a source of the music?

  • WG in cuurent worship
    Alan Weeks, Thu Jul 25 7:52pm
    I'm having a year as choir master in an Anglican church in Devon. The Widecombe Mag & Nunc is now nearly as well-known there as in the West Gallery Quire, and we're working on Thomas Clark's setting as an alternative. Our July Choral Visitation has generated request from 2 church choirs to learn particular WG tunes.... more


    Current usage of WGM
    Thurlow Weed, Wed Jun 19 1:53am
    From what I understand of the current usage of WGM, it is limited to performance settings, and not actually used in a church service, except for perhaps a special occasion. Are there any churches in England that are using WGM psalms as part of regular worship? My parish here in Lancaster, Ohio (USA) already uses... more

  • northern ireland
    stephen robinson, Mon May 20 2:56pm
    are there any West Gallery quires or groups in Northern Ireland. I am a fiddle player near Downpatrick


    Another text for identification please
    Francis Roads, Sun May 19 11:24am
    The tune Bolton by Edward Harwood (1707-87)(HTI 4708) has the following SM text in James Carey's A Selection of Psalm and Hymn Tunes (Edinburgh 1820)(NLS Cwn. 539). The HTI lists it as appearing in one other Scottish source, set to Thomas Clark's tune Margate. Come, let us praise the Lord, And magnify his name, Let us ... more

  • Please identify this text
    Francis Roads, Mon May 13 8:54pm
    This text appears to be a conflation of verses from several different psalms. It is set to a tune on page 8 of James Dallas's A Short and Simple Psalmody (Edinburgh 1742)(NLS Cwn.637). It does not figure in the Hymn Tune Index, presumably because of the prose text, though the style of the setting is more like a psalm... more


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