JONATHAN Hope, assistant director of music at Gloucester Cathedral, has written his first choral piece and will conduct its first performance in a concert with the Saint Cecilia Singers on Saturday, November 4 at the Church of St John the Baptist, Cirencester.

The anthem Nunc, Sancte, nobis Spiritus is a setting of the plainsong hymn associated with the office of Terce, the third of the seven canonical hours of the Divine Office.

Jonathan was inspired to write the piece when putting together the programme for A Book of Hours, which takes a musical journey through the monastic day from Matins to Compline.

He explained: "I came across the hymn, couldn’t think of any settings by composers and thought 'If I don’t try now, I never will.'.

"I have tried to achieve qualities I look for in other people’s compositions – well-defined individual lines, sympathetic word-setting and interesting harmonic language. Listeners may recognise elements of composers who inspire my organ improvisation and composition: Debussy, Howells, Poulenc, Elgar, Jonathan Dove and Bob Chilcott, but I hope they will find it original and enjoyable.”

The rest of the programme is built around William Byrd's Great Service, a ten-part masterpiece rediscovered in the 1920s and includes works by Byrd's teacher and friend, Thomas Tallis, his German contemporary, Hans Leo Hassler, and the Kyrie from Palestrina's Missa Papae Marcelli.

The concert on November 4 is part of the Abbey 900 Festival, celebrating 900 years since the founding of the Augustinian Abbey of St. Mary in Cirencester and will raise funds for the regeneration of the Abbey Grounds.


Children welcome free of charge. Tickets at £12.50/student concessions £6.25 are available online from or from Cirencester Visitor Information Centre.