Well, gentle reader, I didn’t get a chance to see Casavant Frères Opus 3695 while in Japan. But I did make it to the St Nicolaaskerk in Amsterdam for Choral Evensong! If one day you should find yourself in Amsterdam on a Saturday afternoon, I highly recommend you drop by and enjoy some delightful music in a beautiful setting. (Saturdays, 5pm, by donation.)
There is a website with more information on the various groups that sing at Choral Evensong (in English & Dutch):
Choral Evensong for the Eve of the Third Sunday of Advent
Sung by the Collegium van de Cappella Nicolai
St Nicolaaskerk – Amsterdam
Introit: Rejoice in the Lord alway – Anon. from The Mulliner Book, ca. 1560
Preces: Richard Shepherd (1626–1669)
Office Hymn: Verbum supernum prodiens II – Sarum Plainchant
Psalm 121 Levavi oculus
Canticles: Thomas Weelkes (1575–1623) The Service “for Trebles”
Responses after the Creed: Richard Shepherd
Anthem: Hosanna to the Son of David – Thomas Weelkes
Closing Hymn: Lo! he comes, with clouds descending (HELMSLEY*)
Antiphon: Ave Maria – John Parsons (1530–1572)
* Ordinarily I’d link to hymnary.org but the version there is doubly incorrect (deliberate simplification of the tune and accidental transcription errors). I transcribed a “better” version from The English Hymnal (1906) which I might post here once I’m satisfied with it.
Everything was sung and accompanied beautifully, tastefully and with excellent English pronunciation. I’m a bit thrilled & embarrassed at the same time to say that their English pronunciation (by a Dutch group!) would put many choirs in North America to shame.
I regret that I had to fly home the next day, and thus couldn’t attend Mass. Ah, well – there’s always next time!
And because there are just so many beautiful pictures of this church on flickr, here’s a small sampling: