Chris McCurry Music


Chris McCurrySince I was a kid (seems like centuries ago) I’ve found composing music very exciting. It was feeble stuff to begin with  – my first work, when I was perhaps 9 or 10, was – of all things – a symphony, which never progressed beyond one and a half vanishingly brief movements in piano score (an instrument I didn’t own and anyway couldn’t really play.)  Although completely self-taught, I had an extremely helpful experience in my late teens through being one of a few church students at the English College, Rome, invited to provide music  for the new English texts of the Mass at the time – the late sixties –  and other liturgies to be used at the College (and not outside of it – it was a sort of experiment carried out at a safe distance from the home country.) It was a bit like being a Kapellmeister in the tradition of J.S.Bach, churning out music for the following Sunday….. except, of course, for the quality of the music. At the same time I continued to write stuff for my own enjoyment.

Anyway, decades on, I still enjoy writing music, but now it’s not only for my own private enjoyment but also – usually – to provide for particular occasions or for particular individuals or groups (choir, parish congregation) where something seems to be needed. It’s gratifying to find my music being adopted more and more widely.

All the same, I’ve never nursed any burning ambitions to make a living as a composer – which has turned out to be just as well. (I did, however, have a few pieces published in obscure anthologies of Catholic church music in the seventies and onwards.) Many people have said to me, a little naively, ‘You really ought to get this published, you know’, as though publishers were poised to bite your arm off to get their hands on a Christmas carol not composed by John Rutter; but that’s just not the way things are. I’m not going to make money from my music, and fortunately I’ve never really been interested in that. (If any publisher, however, happens to find something on this site that they like… please get in touch!)

That’s why I started to laboriously create this website. (If I had a child he or she could have done it for me in minutes! Now, in its present form, many thanks to Tom Walters.) The intention was simply to make my music available to anyone who might find it useful or attractive, and perhaps especially to enhance the liturgy a little in your community. Help yourselves; though please remember all copyright remains with me. All I would ask is two things:

Please email me if you are proposing to use a piece of my music. (It’s always nice to know where your children are and what they’re getting up to.)

And, in lieu of royalties, please consider making a modest donation to CAFOD in respect of any piece, especially if you’re doing quite a bit of photocopying – bearing in mind what sheet music costs these days.


Most, though not all, of this music is religious, in one way or another, and nearly all choral or vocal: liturgical music for the Catholic Mass, for congregation and/or choir, songs and carols, anthems, plus the odd one-off special-occasion piece. As regards the choir music, you may notice a preponderance of pieces written for three parts – SAT, SABar or SAB. To be honest, all such pieces are simply for SAMen. The excellent Choir in my church has only five men and it would be unfair to expect them to divide into two real parts. However, many other church choirs are in the same position, so I hope this music will be of use to them. If you find yourself desperate to use some piece but have quite different resources available, feel free to email me and, if possible (no promises!), I may be able to arrange it for you.

Along with a complete alphabetical list of works there follows a list in categories, depending on their suitability for different feasts, seasons, or occasions. Many, of course, would be appropriate at other times. There are PDF and mp3 buttons to click against nearly every piece to bring up the score or an audio file, or sometimes a few notes.  (PDF files are files that are readable and printable, without format changes, by any computer equipped with the free and universally available Adobe Reader/Acrobat program.)  Where the letters ‘PDF’ are followed by an asterisk, scores in Sibelius 6 or 7 format are available if that would be helpful – again, please email me. As for the audio files, they are mostly computer-generated: accurate and  useful – but try as you listen to them to imagine how they might sound when performed by more flexible human voices responding to the words and the flow of the music. There are a few WMA files, too; these are all recordings of live performances – not always immaculate, but probably helpful.

I intend, in addition to the 50 or so pieces here at present, to add quite a few more (old and new) as and when I can. I’ve also compiled a complete set  of  Responsorial Psalms.for the 3-year Sunday cycle and major feasts, which follow a ‘system’ and have proved to be easy and effective, according to the feedback from many parishes where they have been used. It would be hard, however, to make either the whole system or every individual psalm available on this website. I intend to work on it. For the moment, though, books with the entire system of psalms are available from me at the price of £10.

It would give me great satisfaction to find that the music on this website was helpful or inspiring to individuals and communities. I’d love to receive your feedback. My email address is: