Ralph Vaughan Williams

O Clap Your Hands, motet for chorus, brass & organ (Psalm 47)

    Description by Stephen Kingsbury

    Dating from around 1920, O, Clap Your Hands is a setting of Psalm 47. Vaughan Williams arranged the text for SATB chorus. Although originally orchestrated for organ, brass, and percussion, the work can also be heard in arrangements for organ alone and for full orchestra. The piece is typical of Vaughan Williams' ceremonial works for the church. The joyous mood of the text is capitalized upon in a setting of extroverted jubilation. The brass and organ parts work fanfare-like counterpoints around the vocal lines. After reaching an anticipated climax on "Sing praises unto our King," the music reaches a moment of quiet introspection. Here the vocal lines take on an almost speech-like quality that seems to pay homage to the tradition of Anglican chant. The moment, however, is quickly interrupted by the brass, and the energy of the music returns to the same joyous mood as the opening. This is a piece clearly designed to fill the cathedral with a grand noise in praise of God.

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2018 ABC Classics
    2018 Signum Classics SIGCD 541
    2017 Decca 4831252
    2015 Regent REGCD 443
    2015 Harmonia Mundi HMU 907623
    2011 Musical Concepts MC144
    2010 Regis Records 1323
    2008 ABC Classics 4766906
    2008 Hyperion 67680
    2008 Hyperion 44321/4
    2008 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099920663
    2007 EMI Classics 3873582
    2007 Argo 4361202
    2006 Gloriae Dei Cantores 113
    2004 Griffin 4045
    2004 Sparrow Records 96561
    2003 Nimbus Records 5166
    2002 Naxos 554826
    2001 Nimbus 5691-5
    1999 Nimbus NI1754
    1998 York Ambisonic 141
    1996 EMI Music Distribution 565588-2
    1995 IMP Classics 2040
    1995 Sony Classical 61983
    1994 Teldec / Elektra 96515
    1993 Hyperion 66655
    1992 London 433085
    1992 London/Decca Argo / Argo 2ZH-436-120
    1991 Decca 430 093-2DWO
    Saxton Bampfylde Hever
    Gloriae Dei Cantores 003
    Paraclete 3
    Priory Records 586
    Priory Records 586
    EMI Music Distribution 54134
    Argo 125269