The New Oxford Easy Anthem Book - the best anthem book from OUP for a typical church choir contains 63 easy and accessible anthems for SATB, ranging from renaissance to present day. It includes 20 brand new pieces, and has anthems for every part of the church year. If (like me) you have a choir with limited resources, this is a great way to provide pieces that can be tackled in a reasonable amount of time. And it's reasonably enough priced to be able to buy a set without destroying your music budget. Recommended.
The Oxford Book of Flexible Anthems - a great second book to have alongside the Easy Anthem Book, as it reflects an unfortunate truth. Choirs often have parts missing, particularly perhaps as they get older. (This is nothing new - Wesley's Blessed be the God and Father was specifically written for the possibility.) This book contains 65 anthems with such valuable scoring as S (A) Men. There's traditional material from Bach to Elgar's (rather dull) Ave Verum, plus a good splurge of modern pieces, including brand new numbers from the likes of Bob Chilcott and (editor) Alan Bullard. Really useful.
The Oxford Book of Easy Flexible Anthems - a cynic might say that once the two books above were a success, it was inevitable we'd get a hybrid of the two. To be fair, though, this isn't just the easy ones out of the flexible anthems book, but rather a whole new set of 65 anthems with flexible scoring for those choirs that struggle to get the whole SATB all the time. There are some classics in here, such as Rutter's Gaelic Blessing, and a range for all tastes from Caleb Simper to Byrd. There's quite a lot by editor Bullard, but that's not a problem - personally, I find the selection more attractive than the original Flexible Anthems book.
The New Church Anthem Book - this is OUP's heavyweight anthem book, with a total of 100 anthems inside. This makes it a great resource, the only problem being it's pretty heavyweight to sing from. As far as we are aware it's okay to make a photocopy per book and sing from that instead - it might be more practical. There's a huge range from well known classics like Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring and Locus Iste to less well-known but well worth reviving. The editor is clearly an S.S. Wesley fan - he scores 6.
The Church Anthem Book Handbook - a useful companion publication to the New Church Anthem Book, containing a description of each piece and performance notes. Sometimes a little briefer than I would have preferred, but still useful.
The Novello Book of Music for Lent and Easter - a cracking collection of anthems for mixed voice choirs from beginners to top notch covering the period from Ash Wednesday to Easter, including music for Palm Sunday, Holy Week, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Day. From Tallis to Britten and Tavener, with a bit of plainsong thrown in for good measure it’s an excellent collection. Includes one of our favourite modern anthems, Kenneth Leighton’s Drop, Drop Slow Tears.
The Oxford Book of Tudor Anthems - if you love Tudor music it's often rather diluted in a general anthem book. This relatively small format anthem book contains 34 excellent Tudor pieces. Inevitably Byrd, Gibbons, Tallis and Weelkes are heavily represented (Byrd alone has 9), but you'll also find Batten, Mundy, Philips and more.
Anthems for Choirs I - before the Easy Anthem Book (see below) came out, if you had to pick a single, general purpose anthem book it would have to be this. A great mix of classics and modern, it's a versatile resource for a well established choir. There are very few overlaps with the Easy Anthem Book - so why not go for both?
Anthems for Choirs 2 - something of a disappointment after the eclectic and effective Anthems for Choirs 1, but still a good collection if you are interested in its specific remit - the book contains 24 anthems for Sopranos & Altos and for Unison and Two Part singing, so it's ideal for older children's choirs, or choirs with very limited resources.
Anthems for Choirs 3 - continuing the theme of Anthems for Choirs 2, here are another 24 anthems (surely they could have combined these two) for sopranos and altos, the distinction being that these are in three or more parts, so they're generally more taxing.
Anthems for Choirs 4 - Yes, the Oxford team are at it again, picking off another slice of the anthem market. This time it's 26 anthems for mixed voices (yes men, you can come back from the woodwork), but all by 20th century composers. In fact probably a more generally useful work than 2 and 3, with a mix of modernish composers.
Love Divine - this collection of Victorian and Edwardian anthems shows why the music of this period, often mocked by twentieth century composers, is worth preserving. Of course there was plenty of rubbish back then, but these are solid anthems, in some cases great anthems, from a mix of the big names (Stanford, Goss, Balfour Gardiner, Stainer) and lesser know composers like Ouseley, Adam, Roberts and Gritton. What's particularly impressive is that there is very little duplication with a typical list of anthems from this period - editor Barry Rose has chosen a range of less well known pieces that deserve a place in the repertoire.
Epiphany to All Saints for Choirs - The volume's 50 SATB pieces, both accompanied and unaccompanied, are suitable for choirs of all sizes and abilities, filling in that music gap. Provides an excellent choice of pieces for the Principal Feasts, champions new, approachable, and unjustly neglected repertoire spanning all periods and traditions, whilst avoiding widely available or difficult music, it includes many previously unpublished or newly commissioned anthems, arrangements, and editions by important composers and church musicians.
John Rutter Anthems - A collection of 11 of John Rutter's finest and most popular pieces. Includes the ever-popular The Lord bless you and keep you and All things bright and beautiful. All pieces are aranged for mixed chorus, with keyboard accompaniments where appropriate:
John Rutter Anthems for SA Men - This collection of nine of John Rutter's finest and most popular anthems, scored for SA Men, has been carefully compiled to be both accessible to a wide range of choirs and appropriate to the needs of today's liturgy. With tenors often in short supply, could be an excellent addition to your music cupboard:
A Byrd Anthology - at his best Byrd was arguably not only the greatest church music composer of his period, but the greatest ever. This collection of 14 anthems and motets combines some familiar numbers (Haec Dies, Sing Joyfully, for example) with less well known pieces (Arise, Lord into Thy Rest, Come Help O God and Emendemus in melius, for example). Helpfully doesn't include his best-known anthem Ave Verum Corpus, which practically everyone probably has copies of anyway. (If you don't it's in our anthem sheet music section.)
A Josquin Anthology - Going back a little into the sixteenth century, Josquin Desprez wrote music that is arresting and fascinating (if sometimes a little challenging to sing). The twelve motets are: Victimae paschali laudes, Tu solus qui facis, Gaude virgo, Planxit autem, Memor estoIllibata dei virgo, Salve Regina, Stabat mater, Huc me sydereo, O virgo prudentissima, Praeter rerum seriem and Pater noster/Ave Maria.
A Purcell Anthology - twelve anthems from Purcell's huge output might seem like only scratching the surface, but the decision here was largely to go for the most popular. One or two like Rejoice in the Lord Alway (not to be confused with the anonymous setting once attributed to Redford, which we prefer to Purcell's popular but rather prissy setting) and Thou Knowest Lord, the Secrets of Our Heart, his superb short funeral anthem, may well already be in your library, but chances are there'll be something new among: I was glad, Jehova, quam multi sunt hostes mei, Lord, how long wilt thou be angry? Man that is born of a woman, O God, the King of Glory, O God, thou art my God. O sing unto the Lord. Remember not, Lord, our offences and Thy word is a lantern.
A Tallis Anthology - for the Tudor and Elizabethan purist many of the books above are all very well, but they're much too trendy. This single composer volume collects together 17 of Tallis's anthems and motets - so you get well known classics like If ye love me and Hear my voice and prayer alongside some of his more obscure, but nonetheless stunning compositions.
A Blow Anthology - John Blow is probably the most obscure of the composers in this series, but he is well worth exploring. There are just eight anthems in this collection: O Praise the Lord of Heaven, Teach me thy way, O Lord, Praise the Lord, Let my prayer come up unto the Lord, My God, My God, look upon me, Lord Thou art become gracious, Praise the Lord, ye servants, Lord, and Thou knowst all my desire.
Sacred Choruses - some of the most striking anthems had a start as choruses of oratorios. In this collection edited by the indefatigable John Rutter, we get 18 of the best, from the predictable (Hallelujah) to the less well-known (for example Lili Boulanger's Pie Jesu).