NEW! Sacred Music in August Surroundings: Tewkesbury Abbey and Edington Priory this Summer


Sacred Music in August Surroundings: Tewkesbury Abbey (August 1-7); Edington Priory (August 21-28)

Music-lovers who appreciate hearing sacred music within a liturgical context have plenty to look forward to in August when two well established music festivals take place.

This first is in Tewkesbury Abbey, larger than many English cathedrals, where Musica Deo Sacra are in residence performing a wide range of services, all of which include some wonderful choral and organ music, well sung and well played.

The week long residency under the direction of David Ireson begins with Evensong on Monday 1st August when works by Tavinor, Lloyd, Wood and Shephard will be sung. There is morning mass on Tuesday morning and on Wednesday Macmillan’s Westminster Mass. Wednesday evening presents an organ recital by Carleton Etherington, the Abbey’s organist, followed by a short service of Compline. One of the highlights is on Friday evening when Duruflé’s Requiem Mass will be performed.

The Mudica Deo Sacra residency concludes the following Sunday with Haydn’s Harmonienmesse in the morning accompanied by the English String Orchestra – still within the liturgical context. The day finishes with Evensong and Benediction at 6 pm featuring music by Parnell, Saunders, Stanford, Bairstow, Elgar, Henschel and Harris.

The village of Edington four miles from Westbury (Wiltshire) is close to the famous White Horse, and its festival of sacred music has been going since 1956. The Festival has a number of forces at its disposal – the Schola Cantorum directed by Peter Stevens of Westminster Cathedral singing Matins and Compline; a choir of men and boys led by Matthew Martin of Keble College, Oxford and the Royal Academy of Music; and a consort of mixed voices conducted by Jeremy Summerly of St Peter’s College, Oxford. The Festival Director is Benjamin Nicholas, Reed Rubin Organist and Director of Music at Merton College, Oxford.

The week starts with Compline in the late evening of Sunday 21st and ends on Sunday 28th with a Solemn Eucharist at 11.30 am. There are two main services every day and highlights include the Mozart Requiem on Friday evening, Palestrina’s Missa Aeterna Christi munera on Saturday morning, and Vierne’s Messe solennelle on Sunday morning.

British composers, such as Sir William Walton, Sir George Dyson and Sir Hubert Parry are well represented, but there is also music by less familiar names, such as Jacobus Clemens non Papa, Giovanni Croce and Marco Antonio Ingegneri.

Those who are unable to make it to Edington Priory Church will be able to hear Choral Evensong from the Festival on Wednesday 24th at 3.30 on Radio 3.

Roger Jones

For further details of these festivals see and


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