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Philip Moore
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Ricordi Choral Library
Philip Moore

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Philip Moore's is a name which conjures up the dreamy picture of the beautiful and imposing towers of York Minster, where, for the past 20 years, he has held the post of Organist and Master of the Music, having succeeded Dr Francis Jackson in 1983. However, if you peruse the catalogues of those British publishers who specialise in choral music, you'll also see his name in most of them, as a composer and arranger.

Moore's choral catalogue includes over 300 titles. Some are published, others are self-published, and the catalogue ranges over anthems, morning and evening settings, canticles, responses, psalm settings, hymn tune arrangements, and more extended pieces.  There are also three cantatas written for chorus and orchestra.

Philip Moore was born in London in 1943. He received his musical education at the Royal College of Music, where he studied organ, piano, composition, and conducting. His career has since led him through a succession of the UK's most respected choral institutions, where he has built on his expertise on the great Cathedral performance traditions.

During his student years he was Organist and Choirmaster at St Gabriel's Church, Cricklewood, and on graduating in 1965 he was appointed to the music staff at Eton College. In 1968 he moved to become Assistant Organist at Canterbury Cathedral, and in 1974 he succeeded Dr Barry Rose as Organist and Master of the Choristers at Guildford Cathedral.

Moore has written music for each of the choirs with whom he has been associated, and also to commission from many others. The music is published by a large range of publishers, which include Banks Music Publications, Basil Ramsey Publications, Belwin-Mills, Cathedral Music, Church Music Society, Encore Publications, Kenwood, Kevin Mayhew, Music Sales, the Royal School of Church Music, and Thames Publications.  In recent years, three more international publishers have joined the list: Faber Music has published Lo, God is here, OUP has included his Magnificat in B flat in Advent for Choirs, and Boosey & Hawkes has published the much-performed Three Prayers of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Lo, God is here, for divided SATB choir and organ, has been released in the Faber New Choral Works series. Commissioned by the Dean and Chapter of St Paul's Cathedral, it was first sung in December 1997 in the presence of her Majesty the Queen at a Service of Dedication and Thanksgiving for the Tercentenary of the Cathedral. The choir was conducted by John Scott with Andrew Lucas (organ), and there is a recording made by the same performers on Hyperion Records, The English Anthem 7. Lo, God is here is a setting of the words by John Wesley which come from the German of G Tersteegen (1729) and verses from Psalm 84.  It falls into two broad sections, one a distant solo soprano singing the words from the psalm, juxtaposing with the lower voices of the choir. The anthem is scored for two organs, where they are available, the second organ accompanying the solo voice.

Perhaps best known from Moore's library of music is the Antiphon, which the Royal School of Church Music published in 1988.  Written for Allan Wicks on the occasion of his 25th anniversary as Organist of Canterbury Cathedral, it was originally scored for a choir of seven parts.  The published version has the voices reduced to four, although the other parts are there as an alternative.  The text is George Herbert's familiar poem Let all the world in every corner sing.

Possibly the most requested of Moore's music is that published by Boosey & Hawkes in 2002, Three Prayers of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The Morning and Evening prayers surround those intended for times of distress in this poignantly attractive setting for unaccompanied choir. Both Three Prayers for Dietrich Bonhöeffer and the Antiphon are included on the CD, 20th Century Cathedral Music: Choral and Organ Music of Philip Moore, on the Guild label (GMCD 7129). Jeremy Backhouse conducts the Vasari Singers.

Moore is constantly in receipt of commissions for new music, and in 2003 he completed a new setting of the Common Worship Mass setting for Southgate Church.  Other recent sacred music includes two canticles for Magdalen College, Oxford, A Song of God's love, and A Song of the Wilderness, and two psalm settings, the Jubilate Deo (psalm 100) and God is our hope and strength (psalm 46). For male voice choir, Moore has set words by Robert Bridges in Eternal Father, and for double SATB choir, solo quartet, and organ, in celebration of the tenth anniversary of the Sarum Consort, he was commissioned to write A Canticle of Light.

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