There are various musical items in a Choral Evensong service. These are, typically:

Introit; Preces; Psalm; Magnificat; Nunc Dimittis; Responses; Anthem; Hymn(s); Organ Voluntary.

The links below (highlighted in red) demonstrate some of the greatest manifestations of these musical forms.

And here is a Gramophone article listing some choice recordings of the Choral Evensong repertoire - by Michael White

Preces and Responses

These are short petitions that are sung alternately as versicle (by the precentor) and response (by the choir, and sometimes congregation). This form of prayer is one of the oldest in Christianity, finding its source in the pre-Christian Hebrew prayers of the Psalms in Temple Worship. The 'Preces' and 'Responses' are separated within the Evensong service, with the Psalm, Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis happening in between them (see order of service above).

An all-in-one youtube video of all the different musical settings of the Preces and Responses.

Particularly recommended are Smith, Leighton, Shephard and Williams.


The Old Testament Judaic book of 150 songs of praise, lamentation and thanksgiving - many of which are linked to King David.

A Selection

Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis

Magnificat: This is the joyful song of praise by the young woman, Mary, rejoicing at the prospect of the birth of her child, Jesus.

Nunc Dimittis: This is the song of an old man, Simeon, praying to God to let him depart in peace now his life has been fulfilled by meeting Jesus.

All-in-one YouTube videos 1, 2 and 3 of favourite settings of the Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis. 

Particularly recommended are Byrd's Second Service; Stanford in G; Howell's St Paul's Service; Leighton's Second Service; Holst's Nunc Dimittis; Sheppard's Second Service and Walmisley in D Minor.


This is a choral composition set either to a text from the Bible, or another religious text.

Gibbons - O Clap Your Hands

Stanford - Beati Quorum Via

Finzi - Lo, The Full Final Sacrifice

Britten - Rejoice in the Lamb

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