Project Canterbury

Music of the Episcopal Church

The Choir of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York City

Digitized by Wayne Kempton
Archivist and Historiographer of the Diocese of New York, 2019

ALEC WYTON, Organist and Master of the Choristers

Alec Wyton has been organist and master of the choristers at the Cathedral and headmaster of the Choir School since 1954. He studied in England at the Royal Academy of Music and at Exeter College, Oxford, and became organist of St. Matthew's Church, Northampton, England after which he was appointed to Christ Church Cathedral in St. Louis immediately preceding his appointment to New York. He is a member of the faculty of Union Theological Seminary in New York and the National Executive and Examination Committees of the American Guild of Organists.


The choir consist of 40 boys and 18 men. The boys live in the resident Cathedral Choir School on the Close of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine where they are educated on a scholarship basis in return for their singing. They sing the Daily Offices of Morning and Evening Prayer, with a Eucharist on Saints' Days and Sundays, on every day of the week excepting Monday. Their repertoire includes every school of composition used in the Church from plainsong to the music of contemporary composers.


The Anglican Communion (which includes the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America) draws its music from many sources including the great medieval plainsong hymns, the chorales of the Lutheran Church, and the hymns of Wesley and Methodism. This record, however, is concerned only with music which is peculiar to the Anglican Communion from the time of the English Reformation onwards. It represents an almost unbroken evolution in musical style from the Tudor composers to the present day and if the 18th and 19th centuries seem to be sparsely represented, it is because at the Cathedral the emphasis is upon 16th and 17th century music and 20th century music, with the occasional use of what is felt to be best in the centuries in between. The intonation to the plainsong Magnificat and the unison part in the Nicene Creed are both sung by Allan Robert Martin.


1.  O Lux Beata Trinitas Composed By – Robert Fayrfax
2.  Praise Ye The Lord Ye Children Composed By – Christopher Tye
3. Nunc Dimittis From The 'Short Service' Composed By – William Byrd
4. Fauxbourdons To The Magnificat Composed By – Thomas Morley
5. Thou Knowest, Lord, The Secrets Of Our Hearts Composed By – Henry Purcell
6. The Sacrifice Of God Is A Troubled Spirit Composed By – Maurice Greene
7. (2) Psalm 23 Composed By – John Goss
8. Nunc Dimittis From The Service In B Flat Composed By – Charles Villiers Stanford
9. Oculi Omnium Composed By – Charles Wood
10. (4) Oh How Amiable Are Thy Dwellings Composed By – Ralph Vaughan Williams
11. Sanctus and Benedictus From The 'Missa Cantauriensis' Composed By – Edmund Rubbra
12. The Nicene Creed Composed By – Alec Wyton
13. Benedictus Es Domine In B Flat Composed By – Leo Sowerby

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