Study Materials

The information which follows may be used freely by any visitor to this site, whether or not already a member of the Guild of Church Musicians. While intended to offer guidance to, in particular, candidates for one or other of the examinations administered by the Guild – especially the Archbishops’ Certificate in Church Music (ACertCM) or the Archbishops’ Certificate in Public Worship (ACertPW) – it may also assist anyone whose interest in church music, or in church music as a component of Christian public worship, is of a more general nature.

These pages are divided into the following sections (most of which are themselves subdivided):

  • Materials available to you at or near home
  • Materials available via the Internet
  • Books (including Hymn Books and Worship Songs, Carol Anthologies, Psalters and Chant collections)
  • Sheet Music and Music Anthologies
  • Recordings
  • Public Libraries

Church Music is a specialised area; consequently, books on the subject, after their initial publication, often go out of print quickly (therefore the diligent student should be prepared to track down out-of-print titles via a book search, also to investigate the holdings of good second-hand bookshops). On the other hand, recordings of church and organ music appear, or are re-issued, with amazing frequency. As a result, there can be no guarantee that the lists which follow are fully up-to-date when you visit them. We recommend strongly that you visit the web sites of those publishers, record companies and other organisations whose address details are given below.

You, the visitor to these pages, are also recommended to visit Examinations, Courses and Awards / Fellowship diploma, and, within that section of this web site, look under both Course Details and Brief Study Guide, for information about additional study materials and, for prospective examination candidates, good advice on how to construct a personal study programme.


This section refers in particular to those items which you have on your own bookshelves, or which may be found at your church (including in your church choir library), or to which your minister or priest may be willing to grant you access from within his or her personal library. The resources of the local public library or, if available to you, educational library (e.g., university, music library, sixth form college) may also yield suitable materials, especially if the library in question is situated within a large conurbation.

One’s domestic collection, or the church music library, may contain some or all of these, for example:

  • Bibles, prayer books, books on liturgy and worship;
  • Music dictionaries; books or articles on the history of church music, or on specific subjects within it such as hymnody or psalmody; general histories of music which include sections on church music, or on individual composers such as J.S. Bach; biographies of composers of sacred choral music or of organ music;
  • Hymnbooks, Psalters and Chant books, Carol collections;
  • Anthologies of church music, items of organ music suitable for liturgical use, and individual pieces of church music;
  • At home (less probably at church), recordings devoted to church music, or organ music, or which include items of church vocal or organ music within more general musical programmes.

Both pieces of music themselves, and books on music, are typically costly! Therefore one should not hesitate to explore what may be available in one’s local public library service, or – if one is lucky enough to have access to either of these – in a local university or music college library. Both university and public library catalogues may often be accessed on line, via one’s computer, with a consequent saving of time in tracking down particular books or pieces of music, and without the need to venture out of one’s house on what could prove to be a fruitless journey.

Publishers of both books and of music, also recording companies, similarly have web sites, which the student may peruse in order to see what is currently available. Many of these publishers or recording companies will be happy to answer individual enquiries.

It is increasingly easy to order items by mail order, or via the internet – just as it should be easy (fairly easy, anyway) to establish whether or not a particular book or piece of music is (still) in print. Details of some music shops, and of a few other bookshops and suppliers which might prove helpful in these respects, are given later.

While the phrase ‘out of print’ has not been used in the preceding paragraphs, it has certainly been implied that books, sheet music and recordings all go out of official circulation, even after a comparatively short period of availability. Items included in the lists which follow are all believed to be available at the time of writing (summer 2013); but one’s local bookshop or record store dealer, armed with the appropriate information (including ISBN number of a book, or record catalogue label and catalogue number), should soon be able to confirm the availability or otherwise of particular items. As far as is reasonably possible, the information contained in these pages will be kept up-to-date.

Students are also strongly advised, wherever possible, to complement their own musical involvement within church worship by attending services elsewhere (for example, those in their local cathedral). Similarly, the BBC’s weekly broadcasts of Choral Evensong, and weekday relays of the Daily Service on Radio 4, may be found stimulating in various ways: both of these, especially Evensong broadcasts, may enable one to hear pieces which are being studied, or, possibly, which students perform in their own churches. These remarks, of course, apply both to sacred choral music (or to solo sacred song) and to organ music. Broadcasts of religious music similarly feature elsewhere within the schedules of BBC (TV as well as radio) and Classic FM.


An increasing amount of information on every conceivable subject, including ones relevant for the student of church music, may be accessed on the internet. One need hardly say that the quality of this information varies hugely: some sources are reliable and worthy, while others are misleading or simply unhelpful. Those who are studying for examinations in church music, whether or not those offered by the Guild of Church Musicians, should obtain further advice from those who teach or advise them, possibly based on the personal experience of the latter in exploring internet sources.

The pages which follow provide details of several useful internet sites (including for publishers of hymn-books and psalters, of books on Christian liturgy and church music, of music anthologies, and addresses of several record companies).


A large, though still very far from complete, selection of titles now follows. This selection has been sub-classified for ease of reference. The reader is reminded that, in case certain items listed here are, or become, out of print, library copies may be available for borrowing (if necessary, via an inter-library loan), or it may be possible to purchase second-hand copies.

Christian Worship, including Bibles, Hymn Books, Worship Songs, and Psalters/Chant Books

Here are the web sites for some of the major publishers of books and study guides on Christian liturgy and worship, and publishers of hymn-books, worship songs and psalters:

Three web sites relating directly to hymnody are these:

And here is an important one relating to different versions of the Bible:

  • The HTML Bible [where one may access complete Bible texts - including the King James Version, Parallel Greek and Hebrew versions, Jerome’s Latin (Vulgate) translation, and several others] -

Here is a selection of individual publications relating to Christian liturgy and worship (not exclusively from the publishers just listed, please note):

  • The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council: Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (De Sacra Liturgia) (Catholic Truth Society, 1967)
  • In Tune with Heaven: the Report of the Archbishops’ Commission on Church Music (Hodder & Stoughton, 1992)
  • Mark Beach, Using Common Worship: Holy Communion (Church House Publishing, 2000)
  • Paul Bradshaw (ed.), A Companion to Common Worship, vol.1 [Alcuin Club Collections 78] (London, SPCK, 2001; Volume 2, 2006)
  • Paul Bradshaw, The Psalms in Christian Worship (London, Guild of Church Musicians, 2000)
  • Paul Bradshaw, Early Christian Worship: A Basic Introduction to Ideas and Practice (London, SPCK, 2nd edn, 2010).
  • Paul Bradshaw (ed.), The New SCM Press Dictionary of Liturgy and Worship (London, SCM Press, 2002).
  • Paul Bradshaw and Maxwell E. Johnson, The Eucharistic Liturgies: Their Evolution and Interpretation [Alcuin Club Collections 87] (London: SPCK, 2012).
  • Paul Bradshaw and Maxwell E. Johnson, The Origins of Feasts, Fasts and Seasons in Early Christianity [Alcuin Club Collections 86] (London, SPCK, 2011).
  • J.D. Crichton, A Short History of the Mass (London, Catholic Truth Society, 1983)
  • Lionel Dakers, Church Music in a Changing World (London, Mowbray, 1984)
  • Gregory Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy (Westminster, Dacre Press, [1943]; 2nd edn 1978)
  • John Ewington and Arthur Dobb, Landmarks in Christian Worship and Church Music (London, Guild of Church Musicians, 2001)
  • George Guiver, Company of Voices: Daily Prayer and the People of God (London, SPCK, 1988; 2nd edn Norwich, Canterbury Press, 2001)
  • John Harper, The Forms and Orders of Western Liturgy from the 10th to the 18th Century (Oxford, The Clarendon Press, 1991)
  • R. C. D. Jasper, The Development of the Anglican Liturgy, 1662-1980 (London, SPCK, 1989)
  • R. C. D. Jasper and Paul F. Bradshaw, A Companion to the Alternative Service Book (London, SPCK, 1986)
  • Maxwell E. Johnson, The Rites of Christian Initiation: Their Evolution and Interpretation (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2nd edn, 2007).
  • Cheslyn Jones, Geoffrey Wainwright, Edward Yarnold and Paul Bradshaw (eds.), The Study of Liturgy (London, SPCK, 1978; rev. edn 1992)
  • Alan Luff, Carols of the British Isles (London, Guild of Church Musicians, 1995)
  • Alan Luff, The Hymns We Sing: Part 1: from the beginnings to 1950 (London, Guild of Church Musicians, 1995)
  • Alan Luff, The Hymns We Sing: Part 2: the Hymn Explosion after 25 years (London, Guild of Church Musicians, 1995)
  • Peter Moger, with Tim Lomax, Crafting Common Worship: a Practical, Creative Guide to What’s Possible (Church House Publishing, 2009)
  • Gilly Myers, Using Common Worship: Initiation (Church House Publishing, 2000)
  • Michael Perham (ed.), Liturgy for a New Century: Further Essays in Preparation for the Revision of the Alternative Service Book (London, SPCK for The Alcuin Club, 1991)
  • Luther D. Reed, The Lutheran Liturgy (Philadelphia, Muhlenberg Press, 1947; rev. edn Philadelphia, Fortress Press, 1960)
  • RSCM, Sunday by Sunday: Music for the 2nd Service Lectionary RSCM Handbook Donald A. Withey, Catholic Worship: An Introduction to Liturgy (Bury St. Edmunds, Kevin Mayhew, 1990)
  • Robin Sheldon (ed.), In Spirit and in Truth (Hodder & Stoughton, 1989)
  • Andrew Wilson-Dickson, The Story of Christian Music: from Gregorian Chant to Black Gospel (Augsburg Fortress, 2003; formerly The Study of Christian Music, Lion Publishing Plc, 1992)

Music Dictionaries; Musical Theory; and Writing about Music

  • Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell (eds.), The New Grove Dictionary of Music & Musicians (2nd edn 2001; OUP) (N.B., it is possible to subscribe to the Dictionary, together with Oxford’s other major music dictionaries, online; for details, visit
  • Don Randel (ed.), The New Harvard Dictionary of Music (Harvard University Press, 1986)
  • Chambers Dictionary of Music (Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd., 2006; formerly Hutchinson Concise Dictionary of Music, 2005)
  • Eric Taylor, The AB Guide to Music Theory: Part I (London, ABRSM, 1989)
  • Eric Taylor, The AB Guide to Music Theory: Part II (London, ABRSM, 1991)
  • Trevor Herbert, Music in Words: a Guide to Researching and Writing about Music (London, ABRSM, 2001)

Church Music: history and repertories

This, of course, is a vast field, and a comprehensive bibliography, on its own, could fill several pages. This bibliography is, on the whole, more exclusive than inclusive; for instance, it contains very few studies of individual composers, it tends to favour publications which deal with more recent, rather than older, musical repertories, and it draws mainly on works published by the most accessible British publishing houses.

The student is strongly urged to augment the lists which follow, not simply by perusing the bibliographies which appear in the various publications listed below, but by obtaining catalogues from relevant publishers. For those with internet access, here are some useful web site addresses:

Important, and useful, specialist suppliers of books and music, who may be able to advise on the availability or otherwise of particular items, as well as themselves be able to supply books or music or recordings by mail order, include the following:

The following may also be able to assist in tracking down particular publications, especially second-hand or out-of-print ones:

Among very many others, the following books may be recommended:

  • Denis Arnold, Monteverdi Church Music (London, BBC Music Guide, 1982)
  • David Baker and Joan Welsby, Hymns and Hymn Singing: a popular guide (The Canterbury Press, 1993)
  • Mary Berry, Plainchant for Everyone: an Introduction to Plainsong (RSCM Handbook No 3, 1979)
  • Bishops Conference of England & Wales, Music in the Parish Mass (Catholic Truth Society, 1981)
  • Judith Blezzard, Borrowings in English Church Music 1550-1950 (London, Stainer and Bell, 1990)
  • W.K. Lowther Clarke, A Hundred Years of Hymns Ancient & Modern (William Clowes, 1960)
  • J.D. Crichton, H.E. Winstone, and J.R. Ainslie, English Catholic Worship; Liturgical Renewal in England since 1900 (London, Geoffrey Chapman, 1979)
  • Lionel Dakers, Choosing and Using Hymns (London, Mowbray, 1985)
  • Lionel Dakers, Music and the Alternative Service Book (RSCM, Addington Press, 1980)
  • Lionel Dakers (ed.), The Psalms: their Use and Performance today (RSCM Handbook No 5, 1980)
  • Christopher Dearnley, English Church Music 1650-1750 (London, Barrie & Jenkins, 1970)
  • E.H. Fellowes, English Cathedral Music (rev. J.A. Westrup) (London, Methuen, 1941/1969)
  • William J. Gatens, Victorian Cathedral Music in Theory and Practice (Cambridge University Press, 1986)
  • Robert Hayburn, Papal Legislation on Sacred Music 95AD-1977AD (Liturgical Press, Minnesota, 1979)
  • David Hiley, Western Plainchant: a handbook (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1994)
  • Arthur Hutchings, Church Music in the Nineteenth Century (London, Herbert Jenkins, 1967/Greenwood Press, 1977)
  • Robin A. Leaver, A Hymn Book Survey 1962-80 (Grove Worship Series: Grove Books, 1980)
  • Peter le Huray, Music & the Reformation in England (London, Herbert Jenkins, 1967; rev. edn Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1978)
  • Kenneth Long, The Music of the English Church (London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1971, repr.1991)
  • Ian Mackenzie, Tunes of Glory (The Handsel Press, 1993)
  • James McKinnon (ed.), Antiquity and the Middle Ages (‘Man & Music’) (The Macmillan Press Ltd, 1990)
  • Peter Phillips, English Sacred Music 1549-1649 (Oxford, GimeIl, 1991)
  • Bernarr Rainbow, The Choral Revival in the Anglican Church (London, Barrie & Jenkins, 1970)
  • Jerome Roche, North Italian Church Music in the Age of Monteverdi (OUP, 1984)
  • Erik Routley, The Music of Christian Hymnody (Independent Press, 1957)
  • Erik Routley, Twentieth Century Church Music (London, Herbert Jenkins, 1964)
  • Erik Routley, Words, Music, and the Church (London, Herbert Jenkins, 1968)
  • Ian Sharp, Using Instruments in Worship (RSCM Handbook No 8, 1984)
  • Ian Spink, Restoration Cathedral Music, 1660-1714 (OUP, 1995)
  • Temperley, Nicholas, The Music of the English Parish Church (2 vols.) Cambridge University Press, 1979; paperback reprint of Volume 1, 1983; paperback reprint of Volume 2, 2005)


Some of the ‘key’ publishers, and suppliers of music, have already been identified in the previous section. Visitors to this web site who are affiliated members of the Royal School of Church Music will already know the nature, and quality, of the service which RSCM can provide, in supplying books, music and recordings, whether their own in-house publications or those of others. Banks of York – see web site details above – also offers an efficient mail order service.

For Guild members who are preparing for the ACertCM examination, no individual compositions or collections are prescribed other than the set works or set topics for Section B2 of the Part E Written Examination; but it is obvious that the well-prepared candidate, for this or any equivalent examination, will have encountered, and studied in reasonable depth, a good representative selection of music from different periods, and which fulfil various purposes in worship.

Before listing details of recommended music collections, such candidates, and other interested individuals, are encouraged to start by investigating the music readily available to them on personal bookshelves or in the church music library. This may include:

  • hymnbooks, worship songbooks, choruses, carol collections
  • psalters and chant books
  • copies of communion services/masses and office canticles
  • individual copies/collections of anthems or motets
  • old diocesan festival or RSCM festival books

Once again, the lists which follow are extremely selective (so omission of particular publishers or items from what follows should not be interpreted as adversely judgemental), but, as with books, readers are urged to consult the relevant web sites, or to obtain catalogues from various publishers, in order to ascertain what is available. No attempt has been made to include details of hymnbooks or psalters, although information about some worship song collections, and a number of carol anthologies, has been provided. Students should refer to the list of publishers given in the previous section, since many of these also publish extensive amounts of choral, vocal and instrumental music, suitable for use in worship, in a variety of styles. The items (and publishers) featured most prominently below have enabled a list to be compiled which accommodates different styles of worship, and of worship music, as well as varying levels of difficulty. The following choral and organ music collections and anthologies, among several others, will be worth investigating; many are available cheaply in paperback:

Animus Music Publishing:

  • Preces and Responses (Second Set) for SATB, by Humphrey Clucas
  • Twelve Simple Anthems by Byrd, Campian, Self, Wood, etc.; variously scored for unison, STB and SATB, with and without organ

Boosey & Hawkes:

  • The Strathclyde Motets, by James MacMillan: 14 communion motets (Latin) for mixed voices (2 volumes)

Encore Publications:

  • A Cradle of Carols: five original carols for SATB, by Bryan Kelly
  • Christmas Music for Organ: Three Nativity Scenes for Solo Organ, by Bryan Kelly
  • Descants for Choirs, by Stephen Cleobury (2 volumes)
  • The Power and the Glory: eight hymns arranged or composed for descant, unison voices and organ, by Philip Ledger

Faber Music:

  • The Faber Carol Book, ed. Gwyn Arch and Ben Parry
  • French Motets (SA accompanied), ed. Judith Blezzard
  • 30 Sacred Masterworks for Upper Voices, ed. Judith Blezzard
  • Feel the Spirit! Five Contemporary Gospel Choruses, arr. Ken Burton
  • Three German Carols (SATB accompanied), arr. Paul Trepte
  • My Dancing Day (English carols, for SATB accompanied), arr. Paul Trepte
  • Masterpieces of the French Baroque (SATB), ed. Graham Sadler

Kevin Mayhew Publishers:

  • Before the Service (15 entrance pieces for organ), comp. Colin Mawby
  • Favourite Anthem Books volumes 1 to 8
  • Hymns for Occasions – Organ, arr. Colin Mawby
  • Latin Motets – Books 1 and 2, comp. Colin Mawby
  • More Hymns for Occasions (organ), arr. Colin Mawby
  • Music for Common Worship – Holy Communion by Mayhew ‘house’ composers
  • Music for Common Worship – Morning Evening & Night Prayer by various Mayhew ‘house’ composers
  • Music for the Eucharist (music from Scotland for the parish choir) St Mungo Group
  • Music Group Choruses (4 books)
  • New Anthem Books volumes 1 to 3
  • New Psalms for Common Worship, comp. Colin Mawby
  • Psalms for the People, comp. Norman Warren

Music Sales Group :

  • The Chester Book of Motets (16 volumes), ed. Anthony Petti
  • Chester Book of Carols (Burgon, Maxwell Davies, Tavener, etc.)
  • Christmas at King’s College, selected by Stephen Cleobury
  • Giovanni Palestrina Motets (General Editor Peter Phillips)
  • High Praise: a Book of Anthems for Upper-Voice Choirs, selected and ed. Barry Rose
  • John Tavener: Christmas Choral Collection
  • Lassus: Motets for Five Voices (General Editor Peter Phillips)
  • Love Divine: a selection of Victorian and Edwardian Anthems, selected and ed. Barry Rose
  • More than Hymns: Hymn-Anthems for Mixed-Voice Choirs, selected and ed. Barry Rose (2 vols.)
  • The New Novello Anthem Book, ed. Philip Brunelle and Leslie East
  • Noel! Carols and Anthems for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany, ed. David Hill (2 volumes)
  • The Novello Book of Carols, ed.Willam Llewellyn
  • The Novello Short Anthems Collection , selected and ed. David Hill (2 volumes)
  • The Novello Youth Chorals: Favourite Gospels (separate volumes for SATB and SSA
  • Sing Nowell, ed. Louis Halsey Novello
  • Tomkins English Anthems (General Editor Peter Phillips)
  • Tudor Anthems: Fifty Motets and Anthems for Mixed-Voice Choir, ed. Lionel Pike

Oxford University Press:

  • 100 Carols for Choirs, arr. David Willcocks and John Rutter (paperback)
  • Advent for Choirs, comp. and ed. Malcolm Archer and Stephen Cleobury (paperback)
  • Anthems for Choirs (volume 1, ed. Francis Jackson, for SATB; volume 2, ed. Philip Ledger, for unison and 2-part choirs; volume 3, ed. Philip Ledger, for SA; and volume 4, ed. Christopher Morris, for SATB)
  • Ash Wednesday to Easter for Choirs, comp. and ed. Lionel Dakers and John Scott (paperback)
  • Cantica Nova: 18 New Motets for Choirs (composers include Michael Berkeley, Alan Bullard, Bob Chilcott, Gabriel Jackson, Tarik O’Regan, Francis Pott, John Rutter, and Howard Skempton)
  • Christmas Motets, ed. John Rutter (paperback)
  • English Church Music: Volume I: Anthems and Motets, ed. Robert King (paperback)
  • English Church Music: Volume II: Canticles and Responses, ed. Robert King (paperback)
  • Epiphany to All Saints for Choirs, comp. and ed. Malcolm Archer and John Scott (paperback)
  • European Sacred Music, ed. John Rutter (paperback)
  • The New Oxford Book of Carols, ed. Hugh Keyte and Andrew Parrott (paperback edn available, also extracts from the complete collection, which is superbly and formidably comprehensive)
  • The New Church Anthem Book, ed. Lionel Dakers (available in both hardback and paperback editions)
  • The New Oxford Easy Anthem Book (available in spiral bound and paperback editions)
  • Old English Organ Music for Manuals, ed. C.H. Trevor (six books)
  • Organ Music for Manuals, ed. C.H. Trevor (five books)
  • The Oxford Book of Flexible Anthems, ed. Alan Bullard (available in spiral bound and paperback editions)
  • The Oxford Book of Spirituals, ed. Moses Hogan (paperback)
  • The Oxford Book of Tudor Anthems, ed. Christopher Morris (paperback)
  • The Oxford Book of Wedding Music for Manuals (organ) Malcolm Archer
  • The Oxford Book of Wedding Music with Pedals (organ)

Royal School of Church Music [who also supply other publishers’ music as well as their own]:

  • Behold your King - a Devotion for Lent and Passiontide
  • Cross of Christ – Passiontide Devotion
  • God so loved the World – A Passiontide Service
  • Lift High the Cross – a Meditation in Words and Music on the Passion
  • The Litany of the Thorns – Meditation on Suffering and Salvation, comp. John Harper
  • Music for Common Worship I: Music for Sunday Services, ed. John Harper
  • Music for Common Worship II: Music for the President, ed. John Harper
  • Music for Common Worship III: A Basic Guide, ed. John Harper
  • Music for Common Worship V: Psalter with Chants, ed. John Harper
  • Music for Common Worship VI: Night Prayer (Compline), ed. John Harper
  • Music for Common Worship VII: Night Prayer (Compline) in Traditional Language, ed. John Harper
  • Road to Freedom: Festival Service Book (a celebration of African and Gospel Music)
  • The English Anthem Collection, Vol. 1, 20 anthems for SATB written between 1965 and 1993, ed. Helen Burrows
  • The English Anthem Collection, Vol. 2, 22 anthems for upper voices written between 1960 and 1994, ed. Helen Burrows
  • The New RSCM Carol Book, ed. David Iliff and John Barnard
  • RSCM Devon Advent Carol Book
  • The Spirit of the Lord – a Festival Service in Celebration of God the Holy Spirit
  • The Way of the Cross – a Passiontide Sequence of Words & Music


  • A Choirbook for the Queen (2 volumes) Canterbury Press, 2008
  • Music for the Mass, ed. Geoffrey Boulton Smith (two volumes) Geoffrey Chapman (paperback)


There is an enormous number and range of recordings available (mainly in CD, but also occasionally in DVD, format), so that the information which follows is necessarily even more selective than that for books and sheet music above. It is worth noting that some publishers – Kevin Mayhew Publishers are an important example – also make, and issue, their own recordings; their web site, therefore, should be perused for further details.

Information about the current availability of particular items, or general advice, may be obtained from some of the larger record stores (such as HMV UK Ltd., 150 Oxford Street, London, W1D 1DJ; tel. 0845 602 7800; or Blackwells Music Shop in Oxford). Among the number of mail order suppliers of recordings, those listed below are particularly useful to know about:

Arguably, the most useful record companies (i.e., those which issue a large number and a high quality of recordings of church music and of organ music) are those which are listed below. All have their own web sites, in at least some cases recordings may be purchased directly from the company, and a number also provide a ‘listening booth’ facility for the sampling of individual items. The full catalogue details of many of these companies are available, and in some cases downloadable, from the company web sites. Furthermore, some companies also make provision for the downloading of individual recordings onto MP3 players or iPods. Those students who are keen to find out which recordings are available are advised to investigate all of the following web sites:

A number of these companies have particular specialisms. To mention a few, Collegium Records is the house recording (and publishing) company of John Rutter, of The Cambridge Singers, also of the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge. Coro, similarly, is the house record label of the distinguished choral (and occasional orchestral) group The Sixteen. While Naxos is arguably the most versatile and enterprising of all the major record companies, and has the further advantage of issuing its discs at budget price, it has a very impressive catalogue of organ and sacred choral music, of which an extended series of recordings of English (mainly) 20th-century Church Music (by composers such as Stanford, Elgar, Rubbra, Berkeley and Britten) by the Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge, under Christopher Robinson has been widely acclaimed. Amphion Recordings are strong on organ music recordings from various English cathedrals, Herald, Lammas Records and Priory Records are all companies dedicated predominantly to church music and organ music, and the catalogues of all three are both extensive and impressive. For Herald and Priory, in particular, cathedral and collegiate choirs are well represented in the catalogue, but these are complemented by several very capable collegiate and school choirs, while their programmes are similarly enterprising and often include worthwhile rarities. The Priory series of Great Cathedral Anthems (twelve CDs), settings of Magnificat & Nunc dimittis (twenty-one CDs), and the Complete Psalms of David (ten CDs), featuring different cathedral choirs in each series, are all major achievements. Finally, among the independent record companies which do not specialise in church music or organ music as such, but which have produced many distinguished recordings, Hyperion Records is arguably the most exciting. Among its own distinguished issues have been the Complete Psalms of David (St Paul’s Cathedral Choir, directed by John Scott), many superlative recordings from the Choir of Westminster Cathedral, of which the many discs of music by Palestrina and Victoria are representative; and many splendid discs of organ music of differing periods and countries performed by Christopher Herrick.

It would be inappropriate to provide here any kind of catalogue of recordings, given that new CDs and DVDs are issued (or re-issued) each month, while others are deleted.
Students who wish to build up, or extend, their record collections are strongly advised to investigate the riches which await them at each of the web sites listed above, and also to visit the mail order web sites of europadisc, MDT and of Selections, all of which have large catalogues of CDs and DVDs, often at enticingly discounted prices.

Church Music resources via the Internet

Important and extensive sources of (generally) free music are downloadable from the internet. There follow details of some of the most familiar web sites:

and, inevitably, for information about, and the ordering of just about anything, by mail order over the internet:

Church Music Webcasts

As many readers will realise, the choirs of New College, Oxford, and St John’s College, Cambridge, have their own web sites, via which web casts of choral services may be accessed – thus enabling free access to top-quality performances (of both a wide range of music, and of the liturgy itself). The relevant web sites are:

Online Recording Resources

Three additional, seemingly limitless, sources of recordings, available via the internet, are listed below:

  • iTunes: Comprehensive information about this extensive downloadable resource may be found at To go directly to the iTunes web site, you need
  • Spotify: Once again, comprehensive details about Spotify are provided at To go directly to the Spotify web site, you need - but, as with iTunes, you are strongly advised to read the Wikipedia article first.
  • YouTube: Having arrived at the Home Page, bypass the sub-menus in order to insert the name of the piece(s) of music and/or composer which you wish to find – and good fortune may await you. Be advised, though, that the standard of performances is extremely variable, given that both professional and amateur performances are available for (free) download.

An alternative means of accessing a desired piece – indeed, some may prefer this option – is, via Google, to enter the name of that piece and then to add 'YouTube' to the search.

A positive feature of some YouTube performances is the provision of a score to look at as the music plays – a good feature, where available, if (say) you want to learn your part in a choral item.

Public Libraries

What follows is addressed to (almost exclusively) British readers, whether living in a large conurbation or in a remote rural or island location. Most local authority public libraries provide what is usually called an Online Reference Library, which enables library members to access several invaluable internet resources (a minority of which have been mentioned in previous pages); furthermore, membership of some of these libraries is open to residents of other parts of the United Kingdom (Manchester Corporation and Lancashire libraries are two cases in point; furthermore, Manchester is willing to extend ‘guest membership’ to residents of countries outside the United Kingdom). On account of this, nobody who wishes to do so should have any difficulty availing themselves of the plentiful internet resources which are available. These are the most relevant resources, and web sites, accessible from the Manchester library service, for example:

And, as though that were not enough, online recordings abound. Here are the two most useful sites: