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Festival of Sacred Music: Opening Events

 

IMG_0021.JPGMayfield Salisbury’s 2014-2015 Festival of Sacred Music opening concert, which took place on Friday 12 September, was extremely well attended. Over 200 people gathered in the beautiful sanctuary and were richly rewarded by a superb evening of sacred music performed by Mayfield Festival Singers directed by Walter Thomson, Dr John Willmett on the organ and the Caritas Strings.

The delightful programme brought us music from every century from the thirteenth to the twenty-first. It opened with Deo confitemini qui sua, a Mediaeval motet, led us through works by Purcell, Bach, Mozart, Rachmaninoff and many others, and finished with Allelujah, a piece specially written for the concert by the contemporary composer Stuart Murray Mitchell. The evening was enhanced by the very informative programme notes, which not only detailed all the texts in both their original languages and English translation, but also gave biographical notes on each composer and an outline of the form each piece would take. IMG_0029.JPGAs our minister, Revd. Scott S McKenna, wrote in the introduction ‘For many, music bears the soul to a greater depth, leaving behind the shortcomings of reason in order that we may encounter the Holy, the numinous, in the intimacy of our inner self.’ This fact was borne out by the stillness and silence which filled the church as each piece ended. Only at the end did rapturous applause ring out and the performers receive our gratitude and praise.

Afterwards wine was served in the adjoining hall where the talk was all of the beauty of the evening as people mingled with friends old and new.

 

The comments received afterwards by the organisers show just how successful the evening was! Here are just a few -

‘A delightful and moving concert, where the Laudate Dominum alone was worth the journey and merited an outstanding ovation.’

‘There was such a buzz about the place and so many happy smiling faces.   It was a joy to behold!   I thought the Caritas players were super kids - imagine giving up your Friday night at that age to play for us.’ 

‘It was just an inspiration.  The programme was so well thought through, the notes were just the right amount, the programme was beautifully designed, the front & back of house so well organised ….but the singing and playing were outstanding.’

‘The opening concert was simply WONDERFUL – the music took me to a place of complete PEACE.  Beautiful voices and amazing orchestra. Thank you.’ 

 

IMG_8311.JPGThe concert was followed by Morning Worship on Sunday, 14 September, at which the choir and choral group sang the introit Sacerdotes Domini by William Byrd and the anthem Blessed be the God and Father by S.S.Wesley. The Order of Service contained explanatory notes on these works, as it will at all our Sunday morning services throughout the festival. Our choir master, Walter Thomson, states that ‘Music in worship is enormously important. Music is unique, it communicates with the whole person at different levels – with the intellect, the emotions, the senses, the body. It helps us to articulate our faith.’

 

Then on Sunday evening, 14 September, the distinguished musicologist, Professor Jonathan Wainwright ofP1020477.JPG York University, gave a fascinating lecture on Music and Worship in England and Scotland in the Seventeenth Century. For those who missed it we hope to have it available here shortly. As Professor Wainwright explained, the seventeenth century was a time of constant change and historical turmoil, with the religious allegiance of those in power altering repeatedly as James I and VI, was followed by Charles I, Cromwell and the Commonwealth, Charles II, James II and finally William and Mary. This made the lives of those who worked in the field of music, not only composers like William Byrd and Henry Purcell, but also the many hundreds of copyists and musicians, very uncertain and subject to rapid changes in circumstances. He explained that a great deal of research still needs to be done to explore this fully, but the overview we were given, amply illustrated by listening to excerpts from the music of the period, provided an engrossing story. For example, few in the audience had realised the huge influence on music of Charles I’s Roman Catholic wife, Henrietta Maria, daughter of Henry IV of France, nor that in the Commonwealth IMG_8319.JPGperiod, although sacred music was no longer performed liturgically in churches, it continued to be used widely for private domestic devotion.  Professor Wainwright’s title for his lecture: ‘Living Through Troubled Times’ was thus particularly apt! Afterwards Professor Wainwright was happy to meet with members of the audience both in the sanctuary and also in the adjoining hall, where wine was again served, answering questions and discussing his lecture further.

 

Further photographs of the events can be found in the Gallery

 

The next events in our Festival of Sacred Music can be found in the programme brochure available here. All events are free, but some are ticketed.

 

 

 

 

MYSTICISM & THE ABRAHAMIC FAITHS - LECTURE

Mayfield Salisbury Church Memorials 1914-1918

  
‘LOOK WELL ON THESE SKIES’
 

'Amazed by Science, illumined by Religion' This booklet is available free of charge.  Details HERE

  • Because God is both knowable and unknowable the tension of the symbol, the multilayers of the myth and the openness of the poetic are all vital to our desire to celebrate the Mystery to whom we relate and in whom we have our being.
    Mark Oakley

  • You must love him as he is: neither God, nor spirit, nor image; even more, the One without commingling, pure, luminous ...

    Meister Eckhart

  • The purpose of our life is God's glory. However lowly a life is, that is what makes it great.
    Oscar Romero

  • Faith may justify bigotry or fanaticism, as Church history tragically witnesses. It needs a safeguard. If it is not animated as it were by the greatest of the theological virtues (love), faith can become defective.
    Thomas Norris

  • Dry not, dry not, your tears of love eternal! Only to eyes that fail to weep does this world seem so dull and dead. Dry not, dry not, those long, sad tears of love.
    Johann von Goette

  • The post modern paradigm manifests itself as a unity which preserves diversity and diversity which strives after unity.
    David Bosch

  • There is only one assertion that requires no evidence. Children are a sacred trust...Unless we care properly for our children, we shall never build a better world.
    'A Good Childhood’ The Children’s Society

  • These are only hints and guesses, hints followed by guesses; and the rest is prayer.
    'The Dry Salvages' T.S.Eliot

  • According to strict truth, God is incomprehensible, and incapable of being measured.
    Origen

  • Myth is a story about the way things never were, but always are.
    Thomas Mann

  • In the darkness ...The child of your love - and now become as the most hated one - the one You have thrown away as unwanted - unloved ..... The darkness is so dark .... I have no faith.
    Mother Teresa

  • I love the Bible. I owe my faith and my life to the Bible and its liberating message. It is in the Bible that I first met Jesus ... I too am included in God's embrace.
    Gene Robinson

  • It is this great absence that is like a presence, that compels me to address it without hope of a reply ....
    R.S. Thomas

  • Faith is not a proud self-consistent philosophy. It involves maintaining oneself between contradictions that can't be solved by analysis. It is therefore a living response to the grace of God as revealed in fragile lives.
    Mark Oakley

  • Any religion which does not say that God is hidden is not true.
    Blaise Pascal

  • The contemporary Church is losing aspects of its wide and generous memory and therefore condemning itself to become a 'swimming pool Church' - one that has all the noise coming from the shallow end.
    Mark Oakley

  • For all your doctrinal headaches take Paradox.
    Mark Oakley

  • The true vision and the true knowledge of what we seek consists precisely in not seeing, in an awareness that our goal transcends all knowledge and is everywhere cut off from us by the darkness of incomprehensibility.
    St Gregory of Nyssa

  • Death, death be hanged, the Lord has promised me that I shall live. This I believe!
    Martin Luther

  • We feel that even when all possible scientific questions have been answered, the problems of life have not been put to rest.
    Wittgenstein

  • Religion is the flight of the alone to the Alone.
    Plotinus

  • Stupid clergymen appeal quite directly to a Bible passage directly understood ....
    Soren Kirkegaard

  • What is the point of the arts of reading and criticism as long as the ecclesiastical interpretation of the Bible, Protestant as well as Catholic, is cultivated as ever?
    Friedrich Nietzsche

  • A figure like Ecclesiast, rugged and luminous, chants in the dark a text that is the answer, although obscure.
    Wallace Stevens

  • Myth is the poetry of the soul.
    Sara Maitland

  • Our loss of the ability to think mythically, poetically, allegorically, creatively, theologically, and artfully is a greater threat to our religious experience than anything good scientists have to report ...
    Sara Maitland

  • In general, Zen attitude is that words and truth are incompatible, or at least that no words can capture truth.
    Douglas Hofstadter

  • 'God' is a one word poem
    Rowan Williams

  • What is today? Today is eternity.
    Meister Eckhart

  • Apprehend God in all things, for God is in all things.
    Meister Eckhart

  • The most powerful hunger we have, mostly suppressed and misdirected, is the hunger for God.
    Miroslav Volf

  • We frequently judge that things are as we wish them to be, for through personal feeling true perspective is easily lost.
    Thomas a Kempis

  • Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark.
    Rabindranath Tagore

  • God is the beyond in our midst.
    Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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