The Portal has published an article by its editor Ronald Crane, himself a former Anglican priest, on the musical resourcefulness of the Internet:
An Enriched Prayer with the Customary and the Internet
A personal revelation is shared by Ronald Crane
The publication of the Customary of Our Lady of Walsingham in 2012 brought “Ordinariate Use” within the grasp of all members of the Ordinariate, lay and clerical. It is not to everyone’s taste, of course not, but, for those who have tried it and found it useful, it is a treasure of prayer and worship.
I began to use it as soon as it was published. I do not really know why. The Roman Office had been my staple diet since the 1960s! Maybe I am just obedient, or like a change. Whatever, I tried it.
Much to my surprise, the Customary and I got on very well. At the time, a friend had a job as Verger at a nearby Anglican Cathedral and on occasion, I would go there for Evensong. It occurred to me that Evensong at the Cathedral and in the Customary were not that different.
Missing Anglican Cathedral music more than words can tell
Music is, and always has been, an important aspect of my life and worship. The happiest ten years of my life were a spell as Vicar of an Anglican Church with a superb cathedral-standard choir. I can honestly say that I was missing Anglican Cathedral music more than words can tell. Then the thought came to me. I do not have to miss it at all. The Customary provides the basis and the Internet the means.
I set about searching the Internet. It is all there; Cathedral Evensong after Cathedral Evensong. Together with some CDs (two editions of all 150 psalms for example), one can have Cathedral Evensong according to our Customary in the comfort of one’s own home every evening.
Repertoire on the web site for free
Saint John’s College Cambridge has the majority of their repertoire on their web site for free! King’s College Cambridge places about five or six Evensongs on their web site every week. Trinity Cambridge, New College Oxford, together with many more, do the same. One of the best is St Thomas’, 5th Avenue, New York; a wonderful building and a wonderful choir.
This is quite apart from individual pieces of music on iTunes and YouTube, and on many other music web sites such as “The Chant Café” and the “Saturday Chorale”; not forgetting BBC Radio 3’s weekly Choral Evensong on Wednesdays and Sundays.
Awash with Choral Evensong music
The web is awash with Choral Evensong music; Preces and Responses by Clucas and Smith of Durham via Kenneth Leighton; Plainsong Office Hymns; Canticles; Anthems; and organ music to die for. For example, just before she died, Marie-Claire Alain recorded the complete organ works of J. S Bach and they are all there on the Internet. Not only do I pray Choral Evensong every day, it closes with a superb Organ Voluntary as well!
Crane’s own private Cathedral
Friends mock. One referred to “Crane’s own private Cathedral”, and I suppose it might be thought eccentric in some quarters, but it works for me. As a great man once said, “Pray as you can, not as your can’t.” Well I do, every day at 5pm all stops for the hour of Choral Evensong.
But it is not just Evensong; with care and forethought, Choral Mattins on Festivals can enrich the diet.
Some of you will remember the days when Saturday evenings were completed on BBC Radio 4 by Choral Compline. Well, the good people of St David’s Episcopal Church, Austin, Texas, have three or four year’s worth of Sunday Compline on the Internet thanks to the redoubtable Susan Richter.
There are those who despise the Customary and the Internet can have a bad name, but here is an instance of where these two enhance our prayer life. Go on! Try it.