This British series started in 1875, and reached No.700 by 1900 and 1200 by 1940.
Octavo refers to the paper size, which is 10 X 6.5 inches. This size is between modern ISO 216 sizes (adopted in Germany in 1922, in the rest of Europe and U.K. by 1970) B5 (9.84 X 6.93 inches) and A4 (11.27 X 8.27 inches). This is smaller than usual sheet music, which is 31 X 23cm. (12.20 X 9.05 inches). It was chosen by Novello for their cheap editions in the 1850s and has remained the standard for choral music to the present.
Many items were issued additionally in tonic sol-fa notation. A sample of Handel's Halleluja Chorus in this notation can be seen here (section 2.7.1)
Composers were chosen very widely:
- Renaissance polyphony: Byrd and Gibbons;
- 18thc verse anthems: Purcell, Attwood, Greene, Boyce;
- 18th century oratorios: Bach and Handel;
- Viennese Classics: Beethoven, Mozart Haydn;
- Early Romantics: Mendelssohn, Spohr;
- later Romantics: Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Brahms.
However, the majority of works were by contemporary British composers:
- S.S.Wesley, Maunder, Stainer, Ousley, Parry, Stanford etc.
- 20th century Gardiner, Bairstow, Elgar and others.
Texts were always in English regardless of the original language, suggesting that the audience was mainly from the Anglican and Non-conformist traditions. The series attests to the dedication and high musical standards of the average amateur church choir between 1870 and 1970.
Arrangers and Editors
- 4.This is the Day which the Lord hath Made (Turle, James).
- 10. My God, my God, why, O why hast Thou forsaken me : Psalm XXII Mendelssohn.
- 15. Blessed be the God and Father (Wesley, Samuel Sebastian)
- 42. O Give Thanks unto the Lord (Goss, John).
- 58. If Ye Then be Risen with Christ (Naylor, John).
- 60. O Give Thanks unto the Lord (Wesley, Samuel Sebastian)
- 86. The morning stars sang together : verse anthem for Christmas day John Stainer.
- 108. Make me a clean heart, o God : Joseph Barnby.
- 125. Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem : Jeremiah Clark ;
- 133. O clap your hands : Dr. Greene.
- 145. Rejoice in the Lord Alway, Z.49 (Purcell, Henry) -
- 148. In Thee, O Lord : anthem for four voices ... Psalm xxxi. 1-6 John Weldon ;
- 154. I Will Mention the Loving-Kindnesses (Sullivan, Arthur)
- 169. Sing praises to the Lord :Dr. Croft.
- 176. Out of the deep. Naylor, John.
- 225. O most merciful! : Ernest Bullock.
- 264 Who is Like unto Thee (Sullivan, Arthur)
- 324 There were Shepherds (Vincent, Charles)
- 455. Jesus Christ is Risen Today (King, Oliver)
- 460. My Heart was Glad (Carnall, Arthur)
- 462. This is the Day (Marchant, Arthur William)
- 499. Hallelujah! Christ is Risen (Steane, Bruce) .
- 533. Christ is Risen from the Dead (Roberts, John Varley)
- 534. The First Day of the Week (Steane, Bruce)
- 538. When Christ, Who is Our Life, Shall Appear (Roberts, John Varley)
- 569. O Come, Let Us Sing (Foster, Myles Birket)
- 577. Praise the Lord, o Jerusalem : anthem for harvest J.H. Maunder.
- 591. I Will Go unto the Altar of God (Harris, Cuthbert) -
- 612 Now is Come Salvation (Harris, Cuthbert).
- 621. This is the Day (Lemare, Edwin Henry)
- 623. I am He that Liveth (Adams I, Thomas)
- 655. In Heavenly Love Abiding (Parker, Horatio)
- 660. When the Sabbath was Past (Foster, Myles Birket)
- 684. The Angel Said unto Them, Fear Not (Brown, Arthur Henry)
- 685 There Shall Come a Star out of Jacob (Harris, Cuthbert)
- 695. Now Late on the Sabbath Day (Coleridge-Taylor, Samuel)
- 696. The Lord Liveth (Marchant, Arthur William)
- 729. Alleluia! the Lord Liveth (Harris, Cuthbert)..
- 740. Save us, O Lord : Edward C. Bairstow.
- 743. I was glad when they said unto me C. Hubert H. Parry.
- 760. I Will Magnify Thee, O Lord (Bell, William Henry)
- 761. Sing Ye to the Lord (Lloyd, Charles Harford)
- 762 The Promise which was Made unto the Fathers (Bairstow, Edward Cuthbert)
- 785. Worthy is the Lamb (Thorne, Edward H.).
- 788. Jesus Christ is Risen Today (Gaul, Alfred Robert)
- 789. If Ye then be Risen with Christ (Atkins, Ivor).
- 814. Christ is Risen from the Dead (Sydenham, Edwin Augustus)
- 830. Lord, we leave thy servant sleeping Brahms (Begräbnisgesang).
- 867. How long wilt Thou forget me? : Jeremiah Clark ;
- 873. The Lord Our Righteousness (Blair, Hugh)
- 900. O Lord, Thou art My God (Wesley, Samuel Sebastian)
- 922. Come, with High and Holy Gladness (Blair, Hugh)
- 923. Arise, Shine, Op.7b (Cobb, Gerard Francis)
- 935. A Song of Joy (West, John Ebenezer).
- 971. Jesus Lives! (Foster, Myles Birket)
- 991. Sing Ye to the Lord (Bairstow, Edward Cuthbert).
- 1072. O God, who hast prepared. John Mudd
- 1117. If we believe that Jesus died, Bunnett, Edward.
- 1154. O worship the King. Anthem ...
- 1229. All the Ends of the World ... . Edited by E. Bullock.
- 1254. Psalm 150 Organ Arrangement by H. A. Chambers.