This Is the Record of John

Orlando Gibbons.jpg
"This Is the Record of John" is a verse anthem written by the English composer Orlando Gibbons (1583–1625). It is based on a text from the Gospel of John in the Geneva Bible and is a characteristic Anglican-style composition of the Tudor period. "John" (whose record is being told) refers to John the Baptist. The anthem is usually performed with organ or viol, and a consort of voices. The piece is divided into three sections, each beginning with a verse for solo contratenor (more like a modern tenor, but often now sung by a countertenor) followed by a full section, echoing words of the verse.

The anthem was written at the request of William Laud, who was President of St John's College, Oxford from 1611-1621; the St John to whom college is dedicated is John the Baptist. It was written for the college chapel, and presumably received its first performance there. According to Morris, the earliest known extant manuscripts of the anthem date from the 1630s, a decade after Gibbons' death. They are located at major English cathedrals and chapels, as far from Oxford as Durham, suggesting that the anthem enjoyed wide use when first written. It is included in a number of modern publications, including the Oxford Book of Tudor Anthems (OUP, 1978).

The original text comes from John 1:19 - 23. Gibbons uses the text of the Geneva Bible; it is very similar to that found in the Authorized Version, but (for example) AV has "one crying" in the third stanza, where the Geneva Bible (and Gibbons) have "him that crieth". The text concerns the prophecy of John the Baptist foretelling the coming of Jesus.

This page was last edited on 29 May 2018, at 08:51 (UTC).
Reference: under CC BY-SA license.

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