Few musicians have been more important to modern Episcopal church music than Peter Hallock. During his 40 years at St. Mark’s Cathedral, Seattle, he produced a remarkable legacy: a daunting number of published and unpublished compositions, including numerous motets as well as large-scale anthems with instrumental accompaniment. A three-year cycle of psalm settings for choir with congregational antiphons is the most popular Psalter in common use in both the Episcopal and Lutheran denominations in the United States.
At the Cathedral itself, Hallock’s legacy includes the acquisition of the landmark Flentrop tracker organ, the weekly Compline service, the annual Messiah performances on period instruments (no longer done in this millennium), and a national reputation for the great musical tradition he brought about.
The popularity of Compline at St. Mark’s spawned a revival in interest in this service, now included in the prayer books of Lutheran and Episcopal denominations worldwide. His musical accomplishments have been recognized by numerous degrees and honors: Doctor of Sacred Music, honoris causa, from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific (the Episcopal seminary of the western United States); Associate of the Royal School of Church Music; Associate of the Royal College of Music; Master of Music in Organ Performance and Composition (University of Washington); Canon Precentor (emeritus), St. Mark’s Cathedral; and Canon of Honor, Diocese of Olympia. Dr. Hallock was the first layman in the Episcopal Church to be given the title of Canon Precentor, indicating his importance not only as a composer and musician, but also as a contributor to the liturgy of St. Mark’s and the Diocese of Olympia.
The above text is adapted from notes to the recording Cathedral Anthems: premiere recordings of music for choir, organ brass, and percussion by Peter R. Hallock. Loft Recordings, ©1995