Morning and Evening Service with Eight Anthems (James Kent)
Publication date and place: 1780 in London.
Editor: Joseph Corfe
Size: 37cm high × 26cm wide.
Pages: 121 with additional end papers.
This is the second volume of Kent's anthems to be published; it was, however, posthumous.
Morning & Evening Service
Composed by the late
ORGANIST of the CATHEDRAL
and COLLEGE at
Revised and arranged by
Gentleman of his Majesty's Chapels Royal,
and Organist of the Cathedral at Salisbury.
Printed for the Editor, & to be had at the
principal Music Shops in Town and Country.
Entered at Stationers Hall
OF THE LIFE OF
MR. JAMES KENT,
MR. JAMES KENT, the Author of the following Anthems and Services, had the merit of raising himself from a situation comparatively obscure, to a degree of eminence which will ever entitle him to the praise and admiration of all those who have minds sufficiently enlarged and liberal to hold Sacred Music in proper estimation. He was born at Winchester on March 12th, 1700. At an early age he was admitted into the Choir of Winchester Cathedral, under the care and instruction of Mr. Richardson. From thence he became one of the Children of the King's Chapel at St. James's; a circumstance in his life which deserves particular notice, as it placed him under that great Master Dr. Croft. It was there he had the foundation of his future excellence, as he studiously observed the Style, and happily caught the Manner, of that justly celebrated Composer.
When qualified for an Organist, he was appointed in that capacity, first to the Church of Findon, in Northamptonshire, then to the Chapel of Trinity College in Cambridge, and lastly, in 1737, to the Cathedral Church and Chapel of the College at Winchester. During his continuance in Northamptonshire, he spent much time in the family of his Patron, the Rev. Sir W. Dolden, by whom he was greatly respected;—and of the credit, with which he was regarded by the Members of Trinity College, a handsome piece of Plate, presented to him by that Society, is a durable monument.
As Mr. Kent resided altogether at Winchester, from the year 1737 to the time of his death, 1776, nearly forty years, his Character as an Organist, a Composer, and a Man, is still recent in the memory of many inhabitants in that City.
As an Organist, he was conscientiously diligent, not only in punctual attendance at times of Choral Prayers, but also in the more laborious and indispensably requisite part of an Organist's duty, the teaching of the boys. His manner of playing was neither indecorously rapid, nor heavily slow; but whilst by equally avoiding either extreme, it preserved Instrumental and Vocal Expression, it was such as became the sanctity of the Church, and the Solemnity of the Service. He was reputed by some competent judges to be one of the best players of Dr. Croft's music in the Kingdom.
As a Composer, he is known to have considered much the state of the Choirs for which he wrote, and to have adapted many Anthems to some particular Voice, which happened at different periods to be principal and predominant in powers.
On all occasions he endeavoured previously to understand the full sense and meaning of the Passage, which he intended to express in Music; and then studied to suit his music to the general purport of the Words. For the most part he has been successful in accommodating his Style to the Subject Matter: Yet it must be acknowledged, the point of imitation has sometimes bordered on conceit. But from this fault even that First of all Masters, the immortal Handel, is not exempt. To superior abilities, however, we readily grant indulgence, and overlook their little defects in admiration of their striking beauties.
It will easily be discovered by any one conversant with Church Music, that Mr. Kent was a Scholar of Dr. Croft. Indeed, without hesitation, he often followed the ideas of Dr. Croft in his compositions. On a particular occasion he said to the late ingenious Composer and very judicious Singer, Mr. T. Norris, who was hearing the rehearsal of a new Anthem, "I know your thoughts:—there is the same passage in Dr. Croft:—But what can I do better than copy him in this place?" The talents of Mr. Kent set him above pusillanimity of dissembling that he availed himself of excellences in his favourite Master. He had left ample proofs of his own Originality. The subject of St.John's first Chapter, it must be confessed, is not much calculated for Musical Expression; and the setting of it arose more from the Author's sincerely Christian principles, than from any other cause: yet few perhaps could have set that passage so well as Mr. Kent has executed the work. "Hearken unto this, O Man!" and, "When the Son of Man," are sublime compositions in the solemn style. "Give the Lord the honour due," is equalled by few Anthems in dignity and force, either in its separate, or its mixed parts. In the Anthem, "Sing, O Heavens!" the Solo verse, "Let not Sion say," carries with it an air of awful dignity, becoming a consolatory declaration of high importance; and "Return unto the Lord," is pathetically plaintive, and expresses the disposition of penitence and faith with which the Children of Sion were to seek the Lord. The fourth verse in "The Lord is my Shepherd," as a Solo Bass; and the sixth verse, in which the two Voices unite, produce a most striking effect; the one by its majestic simplicity, the other by its pastoral, yet elegant harmony. Judges of Music will in this manner extend their critical remarks to his many other Masterly Compositions; and, upon a review of the whole, will doubtless conclude, that Mr. Kent, as a Composer, attained the end which should be the object of every Writer in Sacred Music, viz. a proper mixture of Harmony and Melody, each tempering and relieving the other.
As a Man, Mr. Kent was remarkably mild in his disposition, obliging in his manners, and exemplary in his conduct; he was therefore much beloved by his friends, and much respected as a valuable Member of Society by all who were acquainted with him.
Nor as a Musician was he regarded without esteem, in those Choirs with which he was connected. The credit, however, of his Talents in Composition, was rathe confined during the greater part of his life. For though his genius and application were alike unwearied, yet his productions were known by very few but those only, for whose use and gratification he persevered in writing. Modest and unassuming, he was not forward in obtruding either himself or his works in public notice; nor was it till towards the decline of his years, that he gave to the World his Volume of Twelve Anthems. As he thus long with-held from general view the proof of his Merit, he received not that testimony of general approbation which he so amply deserved, 'till his age was far advanced: but, from that time, his labours and excellences, have secured to him wide and lasting fame. Very few years had elapsed after his decease, when his "Te Deum" was in great request in many of our principal Choirs: and his Anthem, "Hear my prayer," was adopted among the choice selection performed at the Concert of Ancient Music. And it is from a sense of respect to the memory of so amiable a Man, and from high admiration of his talent as a Musical Composer, the the Publisher of their Second Volume, perpetuates the name and character of Mr. Kent, by laying before the Public his hitherto inedited Works; Works which need only be extensively known to ensure the Author commendation equally extensive.
|1||Te Deum in C|
|20||Jubilate Deo in C|
|29||Cantate Domino in C|
|42||Deus Misereatur in C|
|52||Give the Lord|
|64||Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous|
|74||The Lord is my shepherd|
|83||My soul truly waiteth|
|91||Lord, who shall dwell|
|97||O Lord our Governor|
|106||It is a good thing to give thanks|
|112||Hearken unto this, O man|
Works at CPDL
|It is a good thing to give thanks||1780||Sacred||Anthems||1||Unison|