Sunday, 21st May, 2023

It being Sunday, we had the opportunity to attend several services. The first of these was a Choral Eucharist at Durham Cathedral at 10:00am. The setting was “Missa Brevis” by Mozart from which we heard the Gloria, Sanctus and Angus Dei. The choir of girls and adults also sang “O Salutaris Hostia” by Rossini. There were only 11 girls, two of whom were probationers so they were a little overpowered by the other parts. Nevertheless, the music was of a high standard.

We stayed at the cathedral for Matins which followed at 11:30am. The responses were by Philip Radcliffe, the Festival Te Deum by Britten and the Jubilate by Walton. The anthem was “The Call” by Richard Lloyd. The organ voluntary was “Prelude and Fugue on a Theme of Vittoria” by Britten. Once again the music was of a good standard, particularly the Te Deum.

After lunch in the cathedral cafe (cream of tomato soup and a piece of chocolate cake) we went for a walk down to the River Wear.

Newcastle is only a half-hour drive from Durham so we ventured there to visit the cathedral. When we arrived, we found a choir and orchestra rehearsing for a concert that night so we were a little restricted in the taking of photographs but we were able to move around pretty freely considering.

Looking from the Nave into the Quire

I enjoyed some of the poppyheads

This lectern is purported to be the oldest in Northern England. It is pre-Reformation.

The Bishop's Throne

There are several organs in the cathedral

Some angels above the choir stalls

A brass memorial removed from the floor so as to conserve it.

There were a great many stained-glass windows. This one shows the Lord's Supper.

Saints Aidan and Oswald

Weatheringsett Organ
When the soundboard of this organ was discovered in a farmhouse in Wetheringsett, Suffolk in 1977, it was being used as a dairy door. An organ soundboard is a central, vertical wooden plate built into the body of the instrument. Its unmistakable holes and grooves led to its recovery and preservation.
Constructed from Baltic oak dating no earlier than 1525, this aged wood provides clues to the typical shape, size and sound of pre-Reformation organs.
This soundboard is characteristically English and perhaps local to where it was discovered. East Anglian organ builders were well-known in Tudor England.
This instrument is a reconstruction of an English pre-Reformation organ built in 2001-2.
Archival research into construction specifications of the period was undertaken, with the soundboard as a starting point. This replica gives a reliable idea of what Tudor organ music would have sounded like.

"And I saw a new heaven" Revelation 21:1

Saints Oswald and Cuthbert from the window above. I really enjoyed this window because of the llittle extras depicted. See below.

Saints Edmund and Edward

St Nicholas (the Patron Saint of the Cathedral)

The Venerable Bede

The view from the back of the cathedral (after the choir and orchestra had stopped rehearsing)

The Pulpit

A detail of the above

And another detail of the Pulpit. I'm not sure that this lion would give me confidence as I ascended the steps to preach!

We were able to sit in the Quire for Evensong. The responses were by Clucas, the canticles were the “Trinity Fauxbourdons” by Park, and the anthem “God is Gone Up” by Gerald Finzi. The standard was excellent. According to a lady we spoke with after the service, the current director of music has “done wonders. Before he came the music was painful.”

We found that the concert was to start at 6:00pm and was part of the Northern Chords Festival at the cathedral. As the program included Handel’s Coronation Anthem “Zadok the Priest”, Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.20 in D minor K466, and his “Coronation Mass”, we decided to stay for that too! The musicians involved were:

Martin James Bartlett piano
Julieth Lozano soprano
Caitlin Golding mezzo
Ben Johnson tenor
Andri Björn Róbertsson bass
Voices of Hope
London Mozart Players
Northern Chords Community Choir

All conducted by Jonathan Bloxham

The £15 tickets for this concert turned out to be a wonderful investment, the standard of the musicians was amazing. The pianist was only 26 years old but he had total control of his instrument. It was definitely one of the highlights of our trip to this point.

Queen Victoria was waiting for us after the concert.

The Tyne Bridge in Newcastle looked strangely familiar!

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