JUST TOO COOL: A fine musical moment at a parish in Wandsworth (S. London)

A friend in England sent a short video which I feel compelled to share.

We are at the little parish of St. Mary Magdalen in a rough area of greater London, Wandsworth, in the Archdiocese of Southwark. I’ve been there a couple times, once, memorably, in 2010 to help as deacon for a Requiem Mass with really interesting modern vestments. On that occasion I met Joseph Shaw of the Latin Mass Society for the first time.  The highly esteemed Fr. Martin Edwards is the parish priest, good value and expert mixologist. Fr. Martin has the TLM on Sundays, bless him.  Father was a deacon at my ordination in Rome in 1991.  Small world!  One of his confreres was ordained with me.

My video sending friend wrote:

“A stirring rendition of Jerusalem after Mass today. Amazing what a live trumpet and a good organist can accomplish in a small chapel.”

That’s part of the point in posting this. Much can be done with little.

Cantare amantis est.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Lux de Coelo says:

    Here’s the web site for times of Mass on Sundays and the rest of the week. http://directory.rcsouthwark.co.uk/wandsworth_easthill_stmm.html

    Brick by brick by brick

  2. BrionyB says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard that particular hymn in a Catholic church – it tends to be an Anglican favourite over here! A fine performance, though, in a beautiful church (isn’t this the one where all the Masses are ad orientem because of the rare unspoilt altar?). God bless Fr Edwards.

  3. HvonBlumenthal says:

    The hymn Jerusalem, like John Lennon’s Imagine, is a piece that people often gush over without thinking very hard about what it means. Written by William Blake, a Freemason and egalitarian, the hymn calls for the construction by human efforts of a new Jerusalem. It is in fact comparable to the dream which gave rose to the Tower of Babel.

    The stirring music was composed as a nation anthem for Englishmen who are not monarchists. All in all, a thorough example of the Devil playing the best tunes.

    [No matter the good and positive thing I post, someone will find fault. Why do I try?]

  4. Lux de Coelo says:

    “And did those feet in ancient time” is a poem by William Blake from the preface to his epic Milton: A Poem in Two Books, one of a collection of writings known as the Prophetic Books. The date of 1804 on the title page is probably when the plates were begun, but the poem was printed c. 1808. Today it is best known as the hymn “Jerusalem”, with music written by Sir Hubert Parry in 1916.

    It is not to be confused with another poem, much longer and larger in scope, but also by Blake, called Jerusalem The Emanation of the Giant Albion.

    The poem was inspired by the apocryphal story that a young Jesus, accompanied by Joseph of Arimathea, a tin merchant, travelled to what is now England and visited Glastonbury during his unknown years. The poem’s theme is linked to the Book of Revelation (3:12 and 21:2) describing a Second Coming, wherein Jesus establishes a New Jerusalem. Churches in general, and the Church of England in particular, have long used Jerusalem as a metaphor for Heaven, a place of universal love and peace.
    In the most common interpretation of the poem, Blake implies that a visit by Jesus would briefly create heaven in England, in contrast to the “dark Satanic Mills” of the Industrial Revolution. Blake’s poem asks four questions rather than asserting the historical truth of Christ’s visit. Thus the poem merely implies that there may have been a divine visit, when there was briefly heaven in England.

    Cut and paste scholarship from Wikipedia. But a sourpuss doesn’t deserve any more effort.

    We love your positive posts Fr Zed, (the Dean of the college of Mixologists) keep them coming. My family and I are going to attend St Mary Magdalene on Sundays. And look forward to a chance to gush and sing Jerusalem again.

  5. Legisperitus says:

    Not being British myself, I will always associate “Jerusalem” first with the Monty Python Mattress Sketch.


  6. Hidden One says:

    There can never be too many good and positive things posted on good Catholic blogs. But anyone who wants to is welcome to try to prove me wrong! ;-)

  7. Kathleen10 says:

    This is one of my very favorite hymns. I love the rise and fall of the voices, and while I don’t always understand the connotations of the imagery, it always give me a strong patriotic feeling, even though I realize it is about England, it is about Christendom, so, there you are. Some hymns are so great one need not even know what the words mean, and I think this is one. It sounds lovely, just incredible to me, at this church with just the organ and horn. Some things just need to be appreciated purely and simply. Sometimes we think too much. Check that, many times we think too much.
    Fr. Z. You and your posts are very important in many lives. You have made a difference in ways you will never know on this side of the grass.

  8. jjbulano says:

    I tune into Catholic radio every morning just before 7:00 am to hear this. They play it before Teresa Tomeo’s program, Catholic Connection. I love it. Thank you for the link to a beautiful “cover” of it.

  9. jaykay says:

    Lux de Coelo: nice exegesis, thanks!

    The Parry setting is gorgeous. To hear it sung every year at the “Last night of the Proms” concert, with full symphony orchestra and chorus, and the mighty organ of the Royal Albert Hall, with the huge audience lustfully joining in, is indeed a stirring experience. Raises the few remaining hairs on one’s head ;-)

  10. jaykay says:

    “Lustily” of course! Hmmm…

  11. Hugh says:

    HvonBlumenthal, on the other hand, “God writes straight with crooked lines.” and thereby frustrates Satan’s plans.

    A favourite hymn of mine is “Dear Lord and Father of Mankind” by John Greenleaf Whittier, a Quaker. The verses of that hymn are taken from a larger poem, “The Brewing of Soma”, which is a veritable tirade against ritual – especially, Catholic ritual – as a corruption of Christianity by the adoption of pagan elements.

    But taken by themselves, the selected verses can be given, contra the intent of the poet, a perfectly orthodox sense.

    Whittier must be spinning in his grave, but so be it!

  12. Kenneth Wolfe says:

    Wait, there was actual music at a traditional Latin Mass offered in London? That alone is news!

  13. Lux de Coelo says:

    Londoners are spoilt for choice with Traditional Latin Masses. And even Beautifully done Novus Ordo Masses. The English do ritual and pageantry better than anyone else in the world.

  14. BrionyB says:

    Indeed, you will find sung Masses in the traditional rite at several churches across London every Sunday, some with music performed to a very high standard by professional singers/organists, and High Mass can often be found on special occasions. I don’t know what more people expect, but I really think that’s not bad, especially considering we are not even a Catholic country!

  15. Kenneth Wolfe says:

    BrionyB — that was not the case during my visit two years ago. Beautiful Low Masses, don’t get me wrong, but I found sung/high TLMs to be almost nonexistent in London. Maybe I did not look in the right places — where is a Missa Cantata or Solemnis in London on Sundays (besides the convent chapel on Sunday nights)? https://lms.org.uk/mass-listings

  16. BrionyB says:

    There is sung Mass (TLM) on Sundays at St Bede’s, Clapham Park (sometimes High Mass, I believe), St Mary’s, Chislehurst, and St Mary Magdalen, Wandsworth (the church mentioned above). There used to be one at Blackfen, of course, but that is sadly no more.

    I was also thinking of Corpus Christi, St Mary Moorfields, and Our Lady of the Assumption & St Gregory – but it turns out that while they do all have a regular Missa Cantata, it’s not on Sundays, and while they do have a sung Mass on Sundays, it’s in the Ordinary Form (or Ordinariate Use). I’m sure those are beautifully done, though, as is the one at the London Oratory.

  17. Kenneth Wolfe says:

    Thank you, BrionyB — I hope to visit those three churches during upcoming trips.

  18. Anne C. says:

    Me too!!! (I’m glad to have found out the name of it, actually!)

  19. THREEHEARTS says:

    Lux de Coelo:
    You missed out that Glastonbury a benedictine monastery was the most visited European pilgrimage site before the reign of Henry 8th. The story I knew as young boy was Joseph of Arimathea was a lead or tin merchant and often visited Cornwall to buy from the tin mines. One time the story goes he planted his staff in the abbey gardens and every year it blossomed at Christmas and the BBC did have or had a yearly radio program that described the blooming of the Jerusalem Rose broadcast at midday Christmas day. So called as the variety of that rose was only found in Palestine. I miss the annual pilgrimage up Glastonbury Tor to the Church of St Michael the Archangel

  20. THREEHEARTS says:

    answer from BBC radio

    1Nickname: mike hurcumEmail: mikehurcum1937@gmail.comStarted at: 12th February 2019 at 23:52Pre-Ticket DataOver 18Cait23:52: Hi mike hurcum my name is Cait, how can I help you today?mike hurcum23:54: in the 1950’s living in Bristol my family used to listen to commentary on arose that very unusually bloomed at Glastonbury. Am I remembering rightlyCait23:55: That is correct. Ended at: 12th February 2019 at 23:55Ticket ID: BBCip-badad22120219136e28fbeb7a32478997dTotal Time: 00 hours 02 min 46 sec

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