Robin L. D. Rees
Weary And Ill At Ease

by the Bishop of Oxford

I have always rather prided myself on establishing good relationships with organists and choirmasters. This is rooted in a strong sense of my own musical inadequacy. I am happy to recognize and respond to the expertise of others in this field. However, it is clear that for a variety of reasons relationships between clergy and organists are not always right. Furthermore, it is clear that there is a great turmoil in the Church over music generally.

I very much welcome Weary And Ill At Ease, based as it is upon long experience and careful research. The Anglican musical tradition is one of the glories of the world. Although it flowers and blossoms in cathedrals, it is rooted in the parish church, however small. It is, therefore, important that this outstanding tradition of music should be kept alive and the appropriate excellence fostered.

It is no less obvious that we need new music today. Much is being produced, but alas a good deal of this is banal, ephemeral in the extreme, or totally unmemorable. Yet every now and again new words and new music combine to produce something really worthwhile, which becomes accepted right across the churches. Good new music and good new writing need to be encouraged. In short, we need as always the best of the old and the best of the new. Every generation is different and our perception of what is the best will not necessarily be the same as that of our forebears. So there is a constant shifting of taste. Yet some things endure and others are rediscovered.

In the changing, sometimes difficult, but potentially creative situation that we are now in as far as music in Church is concerned, it is very good to have Weary And Ill At Ease. I wish it well. May it help all those involved in the musical life of the Church to raise our hearts to God in joy.

+ Richard Oxon

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The Bishop of Oxford (text) 1993
Robin L. D. Rees (design) 2000