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Anglican chant setting by Henry Smart
Anglican chant setting by William Crotch
Christopher Tye, Omnes gentes plaudite manibus
Giovanni Gabrieli, Omnes gentes plaudite manibus
Orlando Gibbons, O clap your hands
Ralph Vaughan Williams, O clap your hands
Philip Moore, O clap your hands
The recording below is based on the Sarum Psalm tones as presented in the St. Dunstan’s Plainsong Psalter. It is chanted to Tone VII 6.
In the recording below, Psalm 47 is sung is to an Anglican chant setting by Henry Smart (1813-1879). It is sung by the Hereford Cathedral Choir, conducted by Roy Massey and accompanied by Geraint Bowen at the organ.
A setting by William Crotch (1775-1847) is sung below by the Choir of St John’s, Elora, conducted by Noel Edison with organist Michael Bloss
There are many references to the elements of music in this Psalm: clapping, singing, melody, a merry noise, and the sound of a trump(et). That proliferation of musical allusions may account for the large number of settings of this Psalm to music. A setting by Christopher Tye (c.1505 – before 1573) of Psalm 47, Omnes gentes plaudite manibus (“O clap your hands, all people”), presents an early post-Reformation anthem by one of the most influential English composers of his day. The score is available here. It is sung in the recording below by the Choir of New College, Oxford, conducted by Edward Higginbottom.
As one of the superstars of the Venetian School of composition — centered in the ceremonial and liturgy at the Cathedral San Marco — Giovanni Gabrieli (1553-1612) created a large body of elaborate pieces with multiple choirs, alternating with instruments and soloists. Such is the case in his 16-voice setting of Omnes gentes plaudite manibus (“O clap your hands, all people”), which includes most of the verses from Psalm 47. The score is available here. Below this work is sung by the Gabrieli Consort and Choir, conducted by Paul McCreesh.
First performed in 1622 at a ceremony in Oxford when Gibbons and his friend William Heyther received the degree of Doctor of Music, one source states that Gibbons wrote O clap your hands as a qualifying exercise for the degree. The anthem is composed for 8 parts, and uses most of the verses from Psalm 47. It is sung in the performance below by the Oxford Camerata, conducted by Jeremy Summerly.
In 1920, Ralph Vaughan Williams composed an anthem based on verses 1, 2, and 5–8 of Psalm 47. It is scored for a four-part choir, organ, brass, and percussion. The anthem is sung here by the Christ Church Cathedral Choir, directed by Stephen Darlington.
In 2016, the Archbishop of Canterbury awarded organist and composer Philip Moore (b. 1943) the Cranmer Award for Worship “for his contribution to the English choral tradition as a composer, arranger and performer.” In 2018, Moore was commissioned by the ensemble The King’s Six to compose an anthem to celebrate their 10th anniversary. Moore used the text from Psalm 47 for the occasion.