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Dunblane company enables Papal Pilgrims to sing from the same hymnsheet


When Pope Benedict XVI visits Scotland and England this week, pilgrims in each of the venues will be singing hymns and music that for the first time will appear in one booklet, drawing together the geographically separated events into one continuous celebration. It is all thanks to the skill of a small Scottish company, The Art of Music, based in Dunblane since 2006.

Alistair Warwick, the MD of The Art of Music, explained that this music will "enable up to a million pilgrims to participate in song and in prayer during the various liturgies celebrated between 16th and 19th September 2010 in Glasgow, London and Birmingham". Alistair is well equipped to have been given this very prestigious task given his past history in both music and music publishing. Formerly Director of Music at Arundel Cathedral, he has returned to his family’s Scottish roots by settling in Dunblane where he not only runs his music publishing and typesetting business, but also conducts the Stirling University Choir.

Alistair says "It has been a privilege to be involved in this way with the Papal Visit even if it has been an intense and time-pressured experience. Music is such a fundamental part of worship that I have been delighted to have been able to contribute in this way to this historic occasion.” He added, “A unique advantage of the Magnificat service book is that it will enable a million or so people to take part in the papal services at home – or wherever they may be. Even if they are not able to attend one of the events in person they will be able to access the music and feel that they can join in."

The music covers a range of styles reflecting the nature of those who will participate: from plainchant and polyphony to modern worship song. Each of the liturgies has its own distinct flavour: Glasgow includes Gaelic music and the Birmingham event features hymns by John Henry Newman, who is to be beatified on Sunday. A common feature, however, is a new setting by James Macmillan, the 'Mass in honour of Blessed John Henry Newman'. This mass setting complements his Mass of St Anne, which is sung in many churches throughout the UK.

A particular challenge has been selecting the best way of notating the music, but it is one to which The Art of Music is well-suited, since Alistair has extensive knowledge and experience as a musician, especially in the field of church music.

Alistair will not be taking a rest after the Papal Visit is over, as The Art of Music is currently typesetting the second edition of Hymns for Prayer and Praise for Canterbury Press, which is designed to enable parish and religious communities to celebrate Morning, Evening and Night Prayer with song. Many people from different traditions find it helpful to set aside time for prayer at different parts of the day, and this hymn book provides a rich treasury of music and texts to help both individuals and communities. +

13th September 2010

Other information

The Art of Music has a range of further publications that choirs enjoy to sing.
Alistair Warwick holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in music from Surrey University, specialising in Scottish early music and in conducting.
He is The Royal of Church Music's Co-ordinator for Scotland.


For further information, including sample music PDFs, please contact Alistair Warwick:
T: 01786 823000  E: press(at)  W:

Christopher Page:
The Christian West and its Singers: The First Thousand Years

The Art of Music was delighted to accept a commission to engrave the music examples for Dr Christopher Page's latest work. The monophonic examples cover a range of secular and sacred music over many centuries.

Book Description

The tradition of Western music has become the most influential in the world. Western notions of melody and harmony have been spread far afield, first by a process of conquest and colonization that began in the Middle Ages, and later by the global influence of technologies – especially those of mass communication – that were developed in Europe and America.

In a vast number of different cultures, children are set to study Occidental musical instruments, such as the piano or violin, to approach the performance of works by the 'Great Composers'.

This book is the first attempt to trace the rise and consolidation of singers and their art in the Christian West. It begins in the New Testament period and ends in twelfth-century Europe when churches, hospitals and monasteries shared a body of vocal music, including Gregorian Chant, that was sung hour by hour, day by day, from Ireland to the first crusading kingdoms in the Levant.

The history of the singers who performed it is here placed against the social, political and economic life of a Western Europe slowly being remade after the collapse of Roman power. The unfolding story, with its generous illustrations, will be of interest to historians, musicologists, performing musicians and the general reader keen to explore the beginnings of Western musical art.


'The range of primary and secondary sources cited is phenomenal, and all of it has obviously been mastered – quite astonishing. 'The Christian West and its Singers' aims to be definitive book on the subject and surely will be.'

Joseph Dyer, University of Massachusetts, Boston

'Dr Page attempts, and triumphantly succeeds in his attempt, to write not merely a technical or even liturgical, but also a social and cultural history of Western church music in the first millennium of its existence. All aspects are integrated into a seamless narrative that has no competitor, and that few other scholars can ever be qualified to emulate.'

Leofranc Holford-Strevens, Oxford

Buy The Christian West and its Singers: The First Thousand Years from Amazon
See also

Contact us if you would like us to typeset music beautifully for you.

Common Worship – Festivals

Due for publication on 4 February 2008 from Church House Publishing (London) is the Festivals volume for the Church of England's new liturgy. This final volume brings to completion the largest liturgical project by the Church of England since the 1662 Prayer Book.

Festivals includes 70 pages of music engraved by The Art of Music. This includes additional prefaces for the Eucharistic Prayers (to supplement those found in Common Worship: Sunday Services) as well as settings of four of the prayers (Prayers A, B, C and E) – all to authentic plainsong tones.

Common Worship – Sunday Services

This volume follows the initial volume published in 1999 – Sunday Services – the President's Edition for which we typeset the music. The music section for this volume can be downloaded from the Church of England's website. (Unfortunately the first edition omitted to mention the music engraver, Alistair Warwick; this omission is noted here along with several other errata.)

Choral Evensong from Dunblane Cathedral on Sunday 2 September 2007 featured the inspired choral setting of Alistair Maclean's wonderful Hebridean prayer "A Celtic Prayer" by Matthew Beetschen, sung by the RSCM Millennium Youth Choir directed by David Ogden with the composer at the organ.
Beginning of A Celtic Prayer

The prayer tells of the gift of this new day to us, and asking that we "bear ourselves gently towards all"; that our thoughts may be mirrors of God's thoughts.

The service was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3.

The RSCM Millennium Youth Choir is an exciting chamber choir, founded in 2000 at the suggestion of the Archbishop of Canterbury. It offers special opportunities to 36 young singers to sing the widest and most exciting range of sacred music to the highest standards.

Obtaining copies of this work

More details of 'A Celtic Prayer' by Matthew Beetschen – including the text and how to obtain copies – can be found here.

Other publications

Details of our other publications can be found here.

They include:

  • Harper: Regina Caeli: An Easter Anthem
  • Naylor: Coe Fen "How shall I sing that majesty (descant and SATB arrangement)


Latest news: Hymns for Prayer and Praise (2nd edition)

Work on engraving the music for service booklets for Pope Benedict's visit to England and Scotland, and for the third Common Worship volume have been completed. We are currently working on a second edition of Hymns for Prayer and Praise (music for the Office).

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