West Gallery Church music, so described because it was often performed by a band of singers and
instrumentalists from a gallery at the west end of a church, was the repertoire of town and country churches
from about 1720-1850.
Gallery Choir Then (Thomas Webster)
It differs markedly from cathedral music, both in style and function. It was written for
and in many cases by amateur musicians; professional performance was not usually envisaged. Much of the
repertoire consists of settings of the metrical psalms; there are also hymns, anthems and canticles. The music
is often of a very lively and joyful nature; too lively indeed for the reformers of the mid-19th Century Oxford
Movement, who sought to replace it with the more staid and solemn repertoire typified by Hymns Ancient and Modern.
Gallery Choir Now
London Gallery Quire has a repertoire of over 400 settings. About a dozen of these will be in rehearsal at any one time, and we are constantly adding new material to our repertoire. They include some settings familiar to all West Gallery singers, but our repertoire also includes many settings not sung by other quires. These include hymns of Phocion Henley, Rector of St.James' sister church of St Andrew by the Wardrobe from 1759 to 1764; anonymous settings from some Manx West Gallery manuscripts researched and edited by our conductor; and compositions in West Gallery style by members of the quire. We also sing a few hymns from more recent periods to help congregational participation when we sing a service.
Link HERE to a complete index of the choir's repertoire with downloadable music files in PDF format.