"The most distinctive architectural feature of the First Congregational Church is the beautiful Spanish Baroque Churrigueresque tower.
In this CD cover photo by Richard Jones, the tower is awash in the late afternoon alpineglow of the setting sun. The church was designed by architect Myron Hunt who was responsible for a number of early Spanish revival buildings in California, including the Spanish wing of famed Mission Inn, also in Riverside, and the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Henry Jekel, an early Riverside architect, was the architectural engineer for the tower.
The cornerstone for the church was laid December 1, 1912, and the completed building was dedicated January 25, 1914."
[from CD liner notes by Douglas Eddleman, February, 2006]
"The early Christian monastic communities developed a daily cycle of prayer, and throughout the Middle Ages they elaborated upon these prayer or "office" hours. Music was an integral part of the daily recitation of the office hours. The most complex choral offices were Matins and Lauds (early and mid-morning) and Vespers (late afternoon). The English Evensong had its origins in the vespers, for which the monks, who had worked all day in the fields and vineyards, put aside their tools and came together for a moment of reflection and celebration in the gathering dusk.
"The Anglican choral tradition that was redefined at the time of the Reformation has been the backbone of the church services for over 400 years. The Evensong has been mostly unchanged since the first English Prayer Book of 1549, developed by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556). Today the Evensong consists of a series of sung verses and responses, psalm chants, two canticles (Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis), anthems, congregational hymns, prayers, and readings from the Old and New Testaments. Note especially the overarching themes of Light and peace.
"The service is a modified evensong based upon the Book of Common Prayer. It includes many of the standard elements, but places an emphasis on choral music appropriate for the occasion."
[from Program Notes, Evensong, February, 2004]