Sunday, 13 February 2011

Discovering Gloucester

Though we live so near, I paid two visits yesterday to parts of Gloucester that were unknown to me. In the evening, David Behar Perahia presided over a performance as artist in residence in the Cathedral, leading a very informal procession up into the spacious tribune gallery, from which I discovered there is a spectacular view of the Choir and - in daylight - the East Window. Earlier, our serried ranks had dribbled through the Cloisters, where actor/musicians had sat in each corner before blocks of stone, which they attacked periodically (and rhythmically) to give a vivid impression of what it must have felt like to have been there when the building was being erected.

The artist's starting point was "awe and wonder about the simple idea that this cathedral was built out of human measures." And admirably did he and his young cast, by this unusual and imaginative performance, convey the same sense to me - as I guess to many of the large number present, for most of whom visiting the Cathedral would be a very occasional experience.

In the morning and afternoon, I had attended the conference organised by The John Ray Initiative entitled "Energising the future" at Redcliffe College. Though it is a short distance from the City Centre, its grounds are extensive, the rear garden being dominated by this huge plane tree, ringed at present by croci. Though the four speakers contradicted one another frequently, it was all very gentlemanly. But having been duly stimulated, I was glad by teatime to be able to escape from what is essentially a talking shop.

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