This Cantata, for tenor, baritone, chorus, organ and piano duet, was composed for Hugh Pollard and St Martin's college, Lancaster, and was first published in 1967.
The work is based on an important incident in the life of Martin, a French soldier in the 4th century soldier, who later become a bishop and a saint. The text, by Thomas Blackburn, is mainly a dialogue between Martin and Christ, and is introduced and summed up by the Jubilate, since Martin's decision to follow Christ is a cause for jubilation. As a formal contrast to the English dialogue, Church Latin is used here, as it carries a deep spiritual significance.
As a young officer, Martin gave half his cloak to a naked beggar in whom he was led to recognise Christ.
The Cantata is mainly a dialogue between Martin (tenor) and Christ (baritone). This is introduced and summed up by the Jubilate sung in Latin by the chorus. Martin's conversion is a theme for celebration, but Blackburn's poem end with elements of doubt and questioning which he regarded as inseparable from Christianity in this century.
The work is dedicated to Hugh Pollard, first Principal of St Martin's College, Lancaster, and the first performance was given by the BBC Northern Singers, conducted by Stephen Wilkinson and broadcast on February 20, 1968.
© Peter Dickinson