This is a setting of John Keble's translation of 'Phos Hilaron', the earliest known Christian hymn recorded outside of the bible that is still in use today. The rich harmonies with their soft dissonances contrast with a softer central section opening with a phrase for soprano solo featuring subtle word painting. The irregularity of the metre of the text give rise to the development of the opening motifs when the themes return for the final section. Whilst in 8 parts, most are not particularly challenging, although singers, especially in the inner parts will need to be confident in singing close harmony notes.
Hail, gladdening light was first performed during Choral Evensong in Portsmouth Cathedral on 4th August 2012 by the choir of St Stephen's Church, Canterbury.