Saturday, 4 October 2008

Splendid English Choral Music at Tetbury.

As part of the Tetbury Music Festival there will be a concert tomorrow evening, Sunday October 5th, at 5.00pm in the parish church, ( Anglican). It will feature the very highly regarded Gabrielli Consort conducted by Paul McCreesh, singing a selection of religious music with a strong emphasis on that remarkable generation of composers of the late Catholic period in England. The programme explores the ideas around pilgrimage as a metaphor for the souls journey into the afterlife. Along with some chant, In Paradisum, Ave Maris Stella, the programme includes the following: In Ora Mortis Nostra, by Thomas Tallis, Ave Maria by Robert Parsons, Christe qui Lux es et Dies, by Byrd, Media Vita Morte Sumus, and In Pace in Idipsum both by John Sheppard. It then moves on to more modern pieces with similar themes: a Nunc Dimittis by Holst, ( written for Easter at Westminster Cathedral in 1925), Take him Earth for Cherishing by Howells, Song for Athene by Taverner,( familiar from Princess Diana's funeral) and the lovely Hymn to the Virgin by Britten, ( written when he was only sixteen).
The Gabrelli Consort is one for the really top rank of professional choirs singing today and have made numerous recordings, including several liturgical reconstructions, but I have always found their style to be very full bodied and fairly robust, and it is certainly interesting to hear this great music sung in this way. I am sure there are still a few tickets to be had from the tourist office in Tetbury tel. 01666 503552 or from the door in advance on the day.
Two things to note, they do actually light all the candles in the chandeliers which is lovely, and secondly the box pews are without doubt the most uncomfortable I even had the misfortune to sit in for long. The seats in the balconies are a little better but the acoustic is not so good.

Architecturally Tetbury church is very interesting in being an example of the very early Gothic revival, creating a large open space with very high open arcades. The Victorians could not cope with it and inserted a chancel screen and reredos which were ripped out some time towards the end of the 20th century. The chancel is now rather bare with a free standing table altar and some chairs in a line along the flat east end. I might be wrong but I have a feeling they may have copied this from the Catholics, ( just a thought).

1 comment:

la mamma said...

Ah, this is the church where the late Mgr W. Mitchell's requiem was held, as the Catholic church wasn't big enough?