excerpt from 'Musical letters from Abroad' pp. 291-3 (468 words)

excerpt from 'Musical letters from abroad' pp. 191-3 (468 words)

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Musical letters from Abroad

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Rev. Mr. Brock (Baptist) is the minister of Bloomsbury chapel, Bloomsbury street. He is a very popular preacher, and has a large and flourishing congregation. Not indeed like the great German congregations where we often see two or three thousand people assembled on a Sabbath mornings but there were not less, we think, than a thousand persons present at the Bloomsbury chapel last Sunday. The church is furnished with a very good-sized organ, though its tones are harsh, and especially so are the stops of small pipes, as mixture or cornet. There is no choir, but the singing is by the people, and seems to be very general. There was a chorus of many voices; a chorus not of musical attraction, but of religious edification - excellent and appropriate. Chanting had been introduced into this congregation, and is practised by the whole collected assembly with much success. We do not hesitate to say that the chanting by all the people in Rev. Mr. Brock's church is much superior to any of the cathedral choir chanting which we have heard. The chant itself was, indeed, unfavorable to the best results, being the well-known Dr. Dupuis in A; but notwithstanding the tune-like character of the chant, the effect was truly good, and seemed to furnish a most satisfactory answer to those objectors to chanting, who say that it is impossible for a large congregation to chant together. The words were, in general, deliberately and well delivered, and with a good degree of simultaneousness on the part of the congregation. Chanting is practised in public worship in many dissenting churches in London, and in other parts of the kingdom. Indeed, although it was introduced at an earlier period into our New England churches than here, yet it seems to have spread more here, and to have taken deeper root. One reason for this may be, that here it is made a republican thing; it is in the hands of the people, and they like it. The metrical psalms were also quite well sung, and the great importance of an organ in Congregational singing was made very apparent. A custom in giving out the hymn and tune is singular. The minister first gives out the number of the hymn, and immediately afterwards the organist plays over the tune. After this the minister, who stands in the pulpit during the playing, reads the hymn, and then the singing follows. 

Mr. Brock has made a much-needed reform in relation to the public prayer. He has broken up the ever-so-long prayer, and instead of it has two shorter prayers. Rev. Mr. Binney of the Weigh House chapel has done the same. The devotional exercises occupied an hour, and the sermon that followed about forty minutes, after which the meeting was dismissed by the usual benediction. 

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excerpt from 'Musical letters from Abroad' pp. 291-3 (468 words)

excerpt from 'Musical letters from abroad' pp. 191-3 (468 words)


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