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: