RSCM releases new critical edition of Stainer’s The Crucifixion


This is an exciting and important addition to RSCM’s catalogue. Authoritatively edited, clearly laid out, and handsomely presented, this volume is ideal for every choir performing this classic work.

Bertie Baigent, Director of Music, St Marylebone Parish Church, Marylebone


The Royal School of Church Music announces the publication of a new Critical Edition of Sir John Stainer’s The Crucifixion, edited by the leading Stainer expert, Professor Jeremy Dibble, using Stainer’s original manuscript, recently given to the Durham University Library. This handsome new edition has comprehensive introductory, editorial and performance notes, uses state-of-the art music engraving, and includes facsimile pages from Stainer’s original autograph manuscript. The new edition is compatible, page for page, with existing editions, so can be used where others will be using other editions.

The Crucifixion: A Meditation on the Sacred Passion of the Holy Redeemer is an oratorio composed by John Stainer (1840–1901) in 1887. It is scored in 20 movements for a SATB choir and organ, and features solos for bass and tenor. The words were selected and written by Reverend William John Sparrow Simpson. Stainer intended the piece to be within the scope of most parish church choirs and it includes five hymns for congregational participation. Its structure is clearly modelled on the scheme of choruses, chorales, recitatives and arias of Bach’s St Matthew Passion, which in 1873 Stainer had introduced into the Music for Holy Week at St Paul’s Cathedral.

Written for St Marylebone Parish Church, Marylebone, London, where Stainer’s former pupil William Hodge was organist, The Crucifixion was premiered there on 24 February 1887, the day after Ash Wednesday, where a choir of boys and men was directed by Stainer himself with the organ accompaniment provided by Hodge. It received its first performance in the United States at St Luke’s Church, Baltimore, on Palm Sunday, 3 April 1887. Aided by positive press coverage (some of which is pasted into the front and back of the autograph manuscript), the work was quickly taken up by parish choirs throughout Britain, the Empire and the United States and soon became a fixture of Holy Week. There have been performances in St Marylebone Parish Church annually since then, and in its Good Friday performance this year, the choir will be using this new edition for the first time. Stainer envisaged that The Crucifixion should be available to as wide a range of church choirs and organists as possible and the work remains a staple of the repertoire of choral music for Passiontide and Easter.

£6.95 paperback

Publisher: RSCM Press

ISBN: 9780854023363

Available direct from the RSCM’s webshop–new-critical-edition

For further press information/review copies, please contact Frances Wilson