St Paul’s Cathedral Choir, John Scott (conductor), Christopher Dearnley (organ)
Settings of the canticles, the Magnificat and Nunc dimittis, have played a prominent part in the Office of Evensong since the Reformation. Cranmer’s original Book of Common Prayer of 1549 established the classic pattern for the Anglican Office of psalm–lesson–canticle–lesson–canticle. This pattern survived all the liturgical revisions and upheavals and was reiterated in the definitive 1662 version, which is still adhered to today. The form of Evensong resulted from the fusing together of elements from the Roman Offices of Vespers and Compline, though the liturgical pattern of psalms followed by paired lessons and canticles differs both from its Roman progenitors and from the Lutheran services.