- Choral Music
The death of Benjamin Britten in 1976 was a shock and a stimulus for Standford. He had some limited contact with Britten at Aldeburgh, having received an Aspen Award for a Piano Concerto. At that time Standford was very close to the Hungarian choral landscape of György Gulyas and the Kodály Kórus of Debrecen. Gulyas had commissioned Standford to write a new work for his Choir and suggested the texts:
Ave Verum Corpus ‘Hail, true Body, born of the Virgin Mary, truly suffered, sacrificed on the cross for mankind, whose pierced side flowed with water and blood: May it be for us a foretaste [of the Heavenly banquet] in the trial of death. Oh dear Jesus, Oh merciful Jesus, Oh Jesus, son of Mary, have mercy on me. Amen’
Flos florum 'Flower of flowers, fount of gardens, Queen of the heavens; hope of pardon, light of joy, remedy of all sorrows; A fresh branch and seemly Virgin, model of goodness; Spare the guilty and bring them a reward through the peace of the righteous; Feed your own, succour your own, have mercy on your own.'
Alma redemptoris Mater ‘Loving mother of the Redeemer, gate of heaven, star of the sea, assist your people who have fallen yet strive to rise again. To the wonderment of nature you bore your Creator, yet remained a virgin after as before. You who received Gabriel's joyful greeting, have pity on us poor sinners.’
These texts became the Three Motets which Standford dedicated to the memory Britten.