Organ scholar, Clare Pryor, has written a musical arrangement of 鈥楾he Lamb who was Slain鈥 which will be sung in Cantonese at 6pm evensong in Chapel on Sunday 18 February.

Antonio Riganti, (1893-1965), an Italian Catholic priest who lived most of his life in Hong Kong, composed the original anthem.

A headshot of a person with long dark hair and glasses
Clare Pryor

Clare, who is studying for a PhD in Classics, said:

As a tonal language, changing the pitch of a word in Cantonese changes the word itself. What I didn鈥檛 initially realise was the implications this has for music.

Riganti鈥檚 melody is impeccably crafted to represent the tone of each word in the hymn. Because of this, I chose to keep the main melody line entirely intact at all times, only changing the harmonies around it.鈥

For much of her seven-part arrangement, the basses sing the melody.

Nicola Yeung, a third-year medical student at 乱伦通道鈥檚 coaches the choir鈥檚 pronunciation.

A group of people singing in a chapel with conductor
The choir rehearsing Sunday's anthem.

颁濒补谤别鈥檚 mother, Yu-Yu Chan Pryor who is from Hong Kong, has provided an English translation. Clare says that her mum was the main source of advice:

鈥淎t no point while I was working on the arrangement were we in the same country or time zone, so our collaborating was done mostly via frantic messages and voice notes. She patiently sent me lots of word-by-word translations and voice recordings of her speaking the Cantonese words, and also helped me proofread at the end.鈥

This special piece is part of a wider programme organised by chaplain Revd Dr Helen Orchard to celebrate the diversity of the College community through a series of Chapel readings and music in 20 different mother tongues.

People who have reflected on the role of language in politics and education, spirituality, poetry and drama offer the weekly address.

The programme has already included a BSL-interpreted service 鈥 thought to be a first for the College Chapel.

Last Sunday Qinglan Du, a second-year law student, spoke about her time in the Jerusalem Youth Chorus and sang in Arabic, Hebrew, and English.

A person playing the guitar in front of an altar
Qinglan Du performing in the Chapel

As well as the Cantonese anthem, this Sunday the readings will be in French and New Testament Greek, read by Fellow Dr Matt Ward. The preacher will be Revd Canon Prof Jack McDonald, Chapelain-Pr茅sident Comit茅 Central du Culte Anglican en Belgique. The Rt Revd Dr Dagmar Winter, Bishop of Huntingdon and currently Acting Bishop of Ely will also attend.

Dr Orchard said:

鈥淚t has been very interesting and quite wonderful to hear students read the lesson in their mother tongue, or a language they are learning. I hope it鈥檚 made the chapel feel more like a space that belongs to everyone in the community, and to which everyone is welcome.鈥

Choral Evensong takes place every Sunday in term time at 6pm in the College Chapel as well as at 6.45pm on Thursdays.

Programme for the rest of term