Auction of Clucas Responses!

Bid to become the new of owner of the original manuscript of Humphrey Clucas's iconic responses

Sheet music and an auctioneer's gavel

An auction in aid of Cathedral Music Trust

In the summer of 1962 I was in my second year as a Choral Scholar of King’s College, Cambridge. By then, David Willcocks had already started a series of annual competitions to write a piece for the choir; in my first year, it was a Jubilate. I did not think of myself as a composer in those days; I just tinkered around with it a bit. Besides, Cambridge was full of very clever people, and I was not reading music anyway (I am an English graduate).  But I had a go and came fifth. The winner was Simon Preston (Preston in C); Simon was the current Organ Scholar. Jonathan Harvey (in F) was runner-up.

In my second year the task was a set of Responses. There came a day when I would either finish these or go on a punt; the punt nearly won. I was surprised and delighted to come first, emotions which seemed to be shared by David himself. In my third year, we broadcast them. Interest was shown. David was running the Oxford University Press church music section, and OUP published them. It was a time when everyone did the various Tudor Responses, but the only other modern set seemed to be the Bernard Rose. My Responses still sell quite well. The manuscript is written in blue ink, with one or two crossings-out and emendations. I am mildly embarrassed that I sent it to OUP in this state.

Listen to the Responses

Twenty years on, I was a lay clerk at Guildford Cathedral. Every time my Responses came up, Michael Barry, a fellow Lay Clerk, would ask why there was no Lord’s Prayer; in the end, I wrote one to keep him quiet. Twenty-odd years later still, I agreed that the Responses manuscript should be auctioned to raise money for the music foundation of Guildford Cathedral; Michael, the Lord’s Prayer dedicatee, added his manuscript to the package. The successful bidder has now died, and his widow, who has become the owner, has agreed to a second auction, the money raised to go to the Cathedral Music Trust.

The successful bidder at the original auction was Ian Richard Hanby (26.11.1940 - 27.12.2020) who had sung the Clucas Responses with the Cramner Company of Singers on several occasions at Cathedrals in England.

Humphrey Clucas


Place your bid

This auction ends at midnight on Tuesday 19 December 2023


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