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Into thy hands
a setting of two prayers of St Edmund
Edmund Rich, later St Edmund of Abingdon, was the great scholar of his age. He was treasurer of Salisbury Cathedral for eleven years, later becoming Archbishop of Canterbury, and spending some time in exile. He died near Pontigny in 1243, and is buried there, in the Cistercian Abbey.
In September 1996 the choir of Salisbury Cathedral visited his tomb, to commemorate the 750th anniversary of his canonization, and asked for a setting of his words which they could sing in the Abbey. Knowing that it was a very resonant building, I imagined that the echo would be part of the piece, and set the first prayer spaciously, allowing for the sound of each phrase to reverberate. The second prayer talks of pilgrimage and eternity, and the music reflects this in a calm processional which does not reach an ending, but simply, in trust, surrenders itself.