The word is used in looser parlance to denote such replies of one portion of a phrase to another, or one instrument to another, as occur in the second subject of the first movement of Beethoven's 'Sinfonia Eroica':—
or throughout the Scherzo of Mendelssohn's 'Scotch Symphony,' or frequently elsewhere.
[ G. ]
ANTHEM (Gr. Antiphona; Ital. and Span. Antifona; Eng. Antiphon). [App. p.523 "See also Cathedral Music."] The idea of responsive singing, choir answering to choir, or choir to priest, seems inherent in the term, and was anciently conveyed by it; but this, as a necessary element of its meaning, has disappeared in our modern Anglicised synonym 'anthem.' This word—after undergoing several changes in its Anglo-Saxon and Early-English forms, readily traceable in Chaucer, and those writers who preceded and followed him, and subsequently used by Shakspere, Milton, and others,—has at length acquired a meaning equally distinctive and widely accepted. It now signifies a musical composition, or sacred motet, usually set to verses of the Psalms, or other portions of Scripture, or the Liturgy, and sung as an integral part of public worship. If it be not possible so to trace the word etymologically as to render it 'the flower of song,' as some scholars have wished, yet the anthem itself in an artistic aspect, and when represented by its finest examples, may justly be regarded as the culminating point of the daily ritual-music of our English Church.
Anthems are commonly described as either 'full,' 'verse,' 'solo,' or 'for a double choir'; the two former terms correspond to 'tutti' and 'soli' in current technical phraseology. In his valuable work 'The Choral Service of the Church' Dr. Jebb makes a distinction between 'full anthems, properly so called, which consist of chorus alone, and the full anthem with verses; these verses however, which form a very subordinate part of the compositions, do not consist of solos or duets, but for the most part of four parts, to be sung by one side of the choir. In the verse anthem the solos, duets, and trios, have the prominent place: and in some the chorus is a mere introduction or finale.'
Nothing can be more various in form, extent, and treatment, than the music of 'the anthem' as at present heard in churches and cathedrals. Starting at its birth from a point but little removed from the simplicity of the psalm- or hymn-tune, and advancing through various intermediate gradations of development, it has frequently in its later history attained large dimensions; sometimes combining the most elaborate resources of counterpoint with the symmetry of modern forms, together with separate organ, and occasionally orchestral, accompaniment. In its most developed form the anthem is peculiarly and characteristically an English species of composition, and is perhaps the highest and most individual point which has been reached by English composers.
The recognition of the anthem as a stated part of divine service dates from early in Elizabeth's reign; when were issued the Queen's 'Injunctions,' granting permission for the use of 'a hymn or such like song in churches.' A few years later the word 'anthem' appears in the second edition of Day's choral collection, entitled 'Certain Notes set forth in four and five Parts to be sung at the Morning and Evening Prayer and Communion'; and at the last revision of the Prayer Book in 1662 the word appeared in that rubrick which assigns to the anthem the position it now occupies in Matins and Evensong. Only one year later than the publication of the 'Injunctions' Strype gives probably the earliest record of its actual use, at the Chapel Royal on mid-Lent Sunday, 1560: 'And, Service concluded, a good Anthem was sung.' (The prayers at that time ended with the third collect.) Excepting during the Great Rebellion, when music was banished and organs and choir-books destroyed, the anthem has ever since held its place in choral service. At the present day, so far from there being any prospect of its withdrawal, there seems to exist an increasing love for this special form of sacred art, as well as an earnest desire to invest its performance always, and particularly on festivals, with all attainable completeness and dignity.
Ever since the Reformation anthems have been composed by wellnigh all the eminent masters which this country has produced, from Tye and his contemporaries onwards to Gibbons, Purcell, Boyce, Attwood, and our still-lamented Sterndale Bennett. The history of the anthem accordingly can only be completely told in that of music itself. The following attempt at classification, and references to examples, may serve in some measure to illustrate the subject.
Early School, 1520-1625.—Tye, Tallis, Byrd, Gibbons. The vagueness of tonality anciently prevalent begins in the music of Tye to exhibit promise of settlement; while in that of Gibbons it almost entirely disappears. Tye's anthem 'I will exalt Thee, O Lord' is remarkable in this respect, as well as for its general clearness and purity of harmony. Of Tallis' style 'I call and cry,' and 'All people that on earth do dwell,' are good examples. 'Bow Thine ear' and 'Sing joyfully,' Byrd, with 'Hosanna,' 'Lift up your heads,' 'O clap your hands together,' and 'Almighty and everlasting God,' Gibbons, are assuredly masterpieces of vocal writing, which can never grow out of date. Most of the anthems of this period are 'full'; 'verse' or 'solo' anthems, however, are at least