Hear Us Sing

The followng are in mp3 format:
 
LARK - [2 minutes 11 secs - approx 1MB] Recorded live at a performance at  St Marys Church, Hawkshaw, Bury on 6 October 2001
NOTES: ‘Lark’ was composed by James Nuttall (1745-1806), elder son of Rev John Nuttall (1716-1792), who along with Richard Hudson (1714-1766) is regarded as a founding father of the original Larks of Dean.  James and his brother Henry (1747-1810) were two of the chief amateur Larks composers. The tune appears in nine of the conserved manuscripts, set to these words where a text is indicated, and was quite widespread in the north of England especially, sometimes called 'Bacup' or 'Celestial Concert'.  It is still sung in several villages around Sheffield as part of their Christmas carolling tradition, to various texts, and elsewhere in Lancashire it was used for ‘While shepherds watched their flocks by night’.
 
EGYPT - [2 minutes 14 secs - approx 1 MB] Recorded live at Emmanuel Church, Holcombe, Bury on 21 June 2003
NOTES:This was composed by James Leach who was born in Wardle, near Rochdale in 1762. A weaver by trade, he was a staunch Methodist, and as a very young man, composed tunes which became very popular in local worship, many of them finding their way into the manuscript books of the Larks Of Dean. Following appreciative comments about his compositions from John Wesley in 1788, he became a professor of music in Rochdale and published his "New Sett Of Hymns and Psalm-Tunes" the following year. Five years later, he moved to Salford, and then to Manchester, publishing a "Second Sett of Hymns and Psalm-Tunes" in 1797, where this tune appears. He continued teaching in Rochdale and on one of his journeys to the town, the coach in which he was travelling overturned and he was killed instantly, aged only 36. He was buried at Union Street Methodist Chapel Cemetery in Rochdale, where this tune was carved on his gravestone.  Our treatment of this very moving funeral hymn is intended to reflect the custom of carrying the coffin all the way from the deceased person's house to the graveyard. The singing is heard distant at first, and gradually builds as the funeral party comes nearer, ending on a final loud note of triumph as the mourners reflect on the glories of the after-life
 
PRODIGAL SON - [2 minutes 13 secs - approx 1 MB] Recorded live at St Marys Church, Hawkshaw, Bury in November 2005
NOTES: This tune comes mainly from the manuscript of Moses Heap (1824-1913), collated with two other manuscripts, all from the Larks of Dean collection, Rossendale, and transcribed by Jean Seymour, October 1991. The piece is still performed as part of the Christmas pub singing tradition in villages around Sheffield.