Cæsar, Anthony: Requests (I asked for Peace)
SATB and organ
Anthony Cæsar finds a moving text by the teenage Etonian, Oxford Movement influenced, Digby Mackworth Dolben (1848-1867), who died tragically young while swimming. Canon Cæsar’s anthem is a classic example of the Franciscan principle (observed by lamentably few composers) of true beauty springing from simplicity.
The text inspires a sort of post-Howells harmonic idiom, though with the choir’s part kept remarkably simple. The most inspired moment comes when the opening progression, which sets the poignant tension of the first three verses, is subtly transformed into radiant certainty in the last verse: I asked for Thee- / And Thou didst come / To take me home / Within Thy Heart to be. Although the parts divide at times, this miniature classic is not too difficult for any well rehearsed four-part choir.