Sunday, October 16, 2011

St. Edward the Confessor Eve in London

This past Wednesday I spent an excellent Eve of the Feast of the Translation of St. Edward the Confessor in London. My chief missions were two:

1. To worship on the special day at Westminster Abbey, founded by St. Edward. The Choral Evensong was packed with some having to sit in the Nave and was broadcast on BBC, which said broadcast can still be heard for a couple more days. Although I would have selected different music in places, the choir sounds great.

But, having worshipped on the same day at the Abbey back in ’07, there were two disappointments this time. After the service, we did not get to circumnavigate the shrine of St. Edward. And when I stepped outside, there was no change ringing from the Abbey bells. But I am still glad I went.

2. To hear the Choir of King’s College Cambridge sing Mozart near King’s Cross. It was a very interesting and enjoyable performance. And the choir sounds great as always.

Mainly early Mozart was performed, particularly Missa Brevis in C, K140 and Missa Brevis in D, K194. Both were lively as is typical of Mozart and, well, brevis and that for interesting cause. The Archbishop of Salzburg at the time was of a reforming bent and did not like long masses. In fact, he wanted them no longer than 45 minutes! Mozart did not appreciate that much as is understandable, but he certainly adapted well in his composition.

A much longer piece was also played, Divertimento in B flat, Second Londron Night Music. The piece was entirely instrumental, being played by the Dante Quartet. It is interesting, and I enjoyed it, but it takes a little endurance to listen to the whole piece. It was amusing to see some of the idle boys in the choir get bored.

One pleasant surprise of the evening was to see Samuel Landman back in the choir, a choral scholar now and a bass of all things.

By the way, my seat was front row. That is not supposed to be the best seat for a musical performance, but I wouldn’t have been anywhere else. It was great.

As if my day was not full enough, I did some exploring as well. But I will leave off for now.

(Aside: Yes, I finally got some serious sleep overnight. Can you tell? I think the matriculating Freshers drunk themselves into an early stupor yesterday.)

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