There is an opportunity to hear some interesting very early religious music in Tewkesbury Abbey on Thursday 10th July at 7.00p.m. The Estonian Philharmonic Choir is performing a programme which includes some rarely heard motets by the School of Notre Dame de Paris, which was active at the very beginning of polyphonic music in Western Europe, combined with works by Avo Part the Estonian Composer, whose music sounds oddly akin to that from the Gothic period. Works preformed include Leonin, Alleluia Navitatis, also a setting of Veni Creator Spiritus dating to the 1100s, and English piece from the C14th., titled Angelus ad Virginum along with a Magnificat and a Nunc Dimitis by Arvo Part.
Tewkesbury Abbey is a fascinating building. It feels very Anglican now but of course has a deeply Catholic history. It was founded in 1029 as a Benedictine Abbey and is actually larger than many of the English Cathedrals. I think I'm right in saying it was the very last Monastery in The West Country to surrender at the dissolution in the 1540s. It was then hacked about a bit loosing its cloisters and many other ancillary buildings. As can be seen from this picture of the East End, the Lady Chapel was hacked off quite mercilessly.
The concert is part of the Cheltenham Music Festival and bookings are taken through their website and also I should think from Cheltenham Town Hall. An unusual element of the concert is that the seats at the back of the church will be removed and super-bargain tickets, at £8. will allow one to sit on or lie on the floor.