O Sing Unto The Lord by Gant Andrew
Andrew Gant's compelling account traces English church music from Anglo-Saxon origins to the present. It is a history of the music and of the people who made sang and listened to it. It shows the role church music has played in ordinary lives and how it reflects those lives back to us. The author considers why church music remains so popular and frequently tops the classical charts and why the BBC's Choral Evensong remains the longest-running radio series ever. He shows how England's church music follows the contours of its history and is the soundtrack of its changing politics and culture from the mysteries of the Mass to the elegant decorum of the Restoration anthem from stern Puritanism to Victorian bombast and thence to the fractured worlds of the twentieth century as heard in the music of Vaughan Williams and Britten. This is a book for everyone interested in the history of English music culture and society.