Tag Archives: gloucester cathedral

From the cathedral

It’s Friday morning.  I can feel the wind-down starting.  I’m still debating whether to return to London on Sunday or Monday morning.  My thoughts are increasingly of the work to be done in the next few weeks.  And I’m anxious to snuggle with my Samson again, to eat my own cooking, to sleep in my own bed.

I have only two concerts on the schedule today: an accordion recital (no joking!) at 1 p.m., then the big evening event at 7.45, featuring Elgar and Walton and a huge chorus.

Here are yesterday’s shots from Gloucester Cathedral:


I have never heard seagulls as much as I have this trip to UK.  Every single place I’ve visited, save for Paris, has had both the sight and sound of gulls.  Even Worcester, far inland in relative terms, had gulls noisy enough to awaken me every morning.

Yesterday I witnessed seagulls intentionally going after folks in the cloister courtyard at Gloucester Cathedral.  Those scoundrels!  Mean little buggers, they are.

Here’s a sample sound file.

Look at the gables in the courtyard:


Gloucester morning

8.45 a.m.  I’ve had my breakfast (bacon, sausage, fried egg, wheat toast, sauteed mushrooms, coffee, grapes) in the dining room at The Edward Hotel here in Gloucester.  I slept well last night on a fine single bed with decent pillows (unlike the hotel in Worcester).

Yesterday’s concert: Britten and Duruflé in the afternoon, sung by the Festival Youth Chorus; Wagner and Verdi in the evening, with the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Edward Gardner, the Festival Chorus, and Emma Bell as soloist.

I have studied the Verdi Quattro Pezzi Sacri, but I’ve never heard all four of them live in concert with orchestra.  This is a big sing; I was glad to be there.  The chorus was spot-on and full of vigor, a few ever-so-shy soprano pitches notwithstanding.

Wagner’s Tannhauser overture and the Wesendonck Lieder comprised the first half of the concert, and to great effect.  The massive Norman pillars and arches of the cathedral provided a perfect acoustic for this music — sacred, generous, resonant, but not muddled or messy.  And Emma Bell shone in the Wagner songs, bringing ecstasy and heartache to these rich poems by Wagner’s one-time love interest.

Today?  Handel’s Messiah, an organ recital, and this evening a concert by Polyphony, followed by the Sibelius 2nd symphony (one of my all-time favorites).  And most likely a side trip to Tewkesbury.  And some rain.

Worcester: Saturday evening report

If it’s Saturday, it must be Worcester.

After a full week that started in Bristol, continued to Worcester, with side trips to Ludlow, Tintern, Cardiff, Gloucester, and Tewkesbury, I am home this evening at the Fownes Hotel in Worcester.

Over the last eleven days, we have sung ten services of praise in four different cathedrals.  We have our last two services tomorrow.

Yesterday’s off day in Wales included stops at the ruins of Tintern Abbey, an afternoon in Cardiff, and a wonderful evening of skittles, hops, light food, and laughter at the Haw Bridge Inn in Gloucestershire.

This day: George Emblom and I took the train south this morning to Gloucester to attend the opening service of the Three Choirs Festival. What started nearly 300 years ago as a two-day festival is now a nine-day extravaganza of choral music.  I will hear a half dozen recitals in the next week, attend various Evensong services and lectures, be a tourist in my off time, and hear major choral works:

  • Beethoven 9
  • Belshazzar’s Feast
  • The Song of Hiawatha
  • The Dream of Gerontius

in addition to Sibelius’ 2nd symphony and other major works. For all of this I move on Monday morning to Gloucester for the week.

Of course I burst into tears this morning at the service — twice.  The opening hymn caught me off guard, as I was lifting my voice with a thousand others in praise of Almighty God in this dream-come-true location and activity.  And “God Save the Queen” reduced me to a bubble as it often does, as this service of sacred, secular, and state concluded with the British national anthem.

I had a few minutes to visit with Adrian Partington afterwards, which was a nice treat.

So Three Choirs has commenced.

But first, the last two services here.  We had wine with one of the Cathedral canons this evening in his home on the College Green.  Six of us joined for dinner following at Ye Olde Talbot Hotel.  I am now weary, and in for the evening.

Here are some more photos from yesterday:

Gloucester Cathedral

Photos from the visit.  Stories to follow . . . .