The first edition of the score of Finzi's 19-minute ceremonial ode for tenor solo, mixed choir and orchestra, with text by Edmund Blunden . The work was commissioned by the St Cecilia's Day Festival Committee in 1947 in order to celebrate St Cecilia, the patron saint of (church) music.
The festive atmosphere is created by the fanfare, whilst the sonorous sweep which the composer gives the choir reflects Finzi's admiration for Parry and Elgar. The "list" of the saints, which is split between soloist and choir, is depicted skillfully: St Valentine, St George, St Dunstan of Canterbury, St Swithin of Winchester and eventually herself, St Cecilia. In reverent stillness the great English composers of the past - Merbecke, Byrd, Dowland and Purcell - are summoned. The conclusion is a solemn summary and summation with jubilant violins in counterpoint and the name of St Cecilia "rings" like a bell in the choir.