Monday, 26 May 2008

Concert at St Gregory's, Cheltenham

Sussex Voiceworks performed in my church yesterday afternoon - a varied (and interesting) programme including Bob Chilcott's Little Jazz Mass and excerpts from Karl Jenkins' disturbing millennial work, The Armed Man.

I thought the best part of the event was hearing in St Gregory's - as a building, pretty much a bastion of pre-Vatican Catholicism - music of another, close-to-home ("sorella chiesa" in the words of Paul VI in 1966) Christian tradition, all composed in the 150 years since our beautiful church was built, and indicating an aesthetic vibrancy in Anglicanism that we are almost entirely lacking in our happy-clappy-if-anything Catholic church. Sitting with my Anglican wife, I was grateful for this introduction to a way of approaching God via some (to me) unfamiliar routes.

It was good too to hear the music of two Gloucestershire-born composers, Gurney and Vaughan Williams. And to see that another - Howard Goodall - had a new work premiered at last week's Chipping Campden festival.

Finally, what a great acoustic St Greg's has!

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