This five-part (SAATB Cantoris & Decani; in one section the two altos sing together) hymn for Evening Prayer is one of two (the other is ‘O Lord, the Maker of all thing’) that became so popular that they were later, wrongly, ascribed to Henry VIII. As with ‘O Lord, the Maker of all thing’ about which I wrote here: William Mundy, (±1528–1591): O Lord, the Maker of all thing | Saturday Chorale it’s a shining early example of secular music forms making their way into religious music. No doubt this novelty was part of the appeal. Structurally it’s bi-part with as I note above the Cantoris & Decani in one section offset by the two altos who sing together while stylistically it has the austere and spare beauty present in so many English early post-reformation anthems. Enjoy :-).
William Mundy (±1529-1591): O Lord, the world’s Saviour
O Lord, the world’s Saviour
Which hast preserved us this day,
This night also be our succour
And save us ever we thee pray.
Be merciful now unto us,
And spare us which do pray to thee.
Our sins forgive, Lord gracious,
That our darkness might lightened be,
That sleep our mind do not oppress,
Nor that our enemies us beguile,
Nor that the flesh full of frailness
Our soul and body do defile.
O Lord, reformer of all things,
With heart’s desire we pray to thee
That after our rest and sleeping
We may rise chaste and worship thee. Amen.
- The Sixteen conducted by Harry Christophers.