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  • Writer's picturepeter-relph

Premiere of 'O Sacrum Convivium'

I'm thrilled to announce that a brand new setting of 'O Sacrum Convivium' (ATB) will be premiered by the choir of St Mary Redcliffe, conducted by Joe Cryan, on the 26th of May 2024 in the service of evensong.

The interior of St Mary Redcliffe

The Sacrum Convivium Text

The short yet deeply meaningful text of 'O Sacrum Convivium' links the eucharist to the Paschal mystery, and has been used as an antiphon to the Magnificat.

O sacrum convivium!

in quo Christus sumitur:

recolitur memoria passionis eius:

mens impletur gratia:

et futurae gloriae nobis pignus datur.


O sacred banquet!

in which Christ is received,

the memory of his Passion is renewed,

the mind is filled with grace,

and a pledge of future glory to us is given.


The text has been set to music by many notable composers, though one of my favourites (and one of the better known) has to be the intimate setting by French composer Olivier Messiaen. The chromatic melody over close tonal harmonies makes this 35-bar piece absolutely compelling. If you have a few minutes, I'd strongly recommend listening to it:

My own setting features a lyrical melody (inspired by Cumbrian folksong) over a slowly shifting harmonic base. The music gradually builds to the final words 'et futurae gloriae nobis pignus datur. Alleluia' (and a pledge of future glory to us is given. Alleluia). Needless to say, I'm really looking forward to hearing it at the premiere.

The opening of my setting of 'O Sacrum Convivium'

I look forward to seeing you there.

PWR 2024.

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