Exeter Choir performs rarely heard music by BAME, female and LGBTQ+ composers
Throughout the 2020–2021 academic year, Exeter College Chapel Choir will be singing music by BAME, women, and LGBTQ+ composers, most of which has fallen into almost complete oblivion — not as a result of the musical quality, but because of the struggles the composers faced during their lifetimes, and after, due to systemic racism, sexism and homophobic and transphobic attitudes.
On Sunday 25 October, the Choir sang a short anthem by Thomas King Ekundayo Phillips (1884–1969), a Nigerian organist, conductor, composer, and pedagogue known today as the Father of Nigerian Church Music. Phillips first trained as a chemist and an optician, and later studied music at Trinity College of Music in London. Upon returning to Africa, he was appointed Master of the Music at the Cathedral Church of Christ in Lagos, and many of Nigeria’s leading organists today are his former pupils and grand-pupils.
The text of Phillips’s short anthem “With Malice towards None” is a paraphrase of American President Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural speech, given on 4 March 1865 in the midst of the American Civil War, in which Lincoln reaffirms the need to continue the struggle to end slavery. We invite you to listen to a recording of this short but lovely piece here.
The text is as follows:
With malice towards none,
With charity for all,
With firmness in the right,
Let us strive to finish the work we have begun.
The solo is sung by David Crispin and the choir is conducted by Christopher Holman.
Thomas King Ekundayo Phillips