Wiltshire Publications

Music festival reaches milestone

The Edington Music Festival reaches a milestone this year – its 60th festival. 

When the three choirs of 60 choristers from Cathedral and Collegiate choirs all over England assemble on Sunday 23rd August for the opening service in the Priory Church, (Compline by candlelight at 9.15pm,) the Festival will have become one of the oldest annual Festivals of Church music in the world.

In celebration of this remarkable landmark, the music chosen for the 25 services and one sequence of music and readings looks both backward and forward, including great Festival commissions from earlier years, and presenting this year’s major commission, a Magnificat for all three choirs and the Priory Church’s magnificent Harrison & Harrison organ.

As ever, Choral Evensong on Wednesday 26th August will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3, and the service on Friday evening, 28th, will be a Solemn Requiem to commemorate those who have contributed so much to previous Festivals but who are no longer with us. The Mass for this service is the Missa pro defunctis by Duarte Lobo.

Music this year includes polyphony from Tallis, Byrd  and Buxtehude, right through to the 20th Century with music from Pärt, MacMillan and Messaien, via Mozart, Haydn, Samuel Wesley and Stanford – and more.

An additional feature this special year is an exhibition inside the church of 60 past Festival participants who have gone on to achieve great things in their careers.

It shows a remarkable gallery of past and present eminent singers, conductors, organists, broadcasters and academics – and some who have made their mark in other areas altogether. In addition, you will be able to buy commemorative items from a range of special 60th Festival souvenirs.

The daily services of Matins and Compline will be sung in plainchant by the specialist Schola Cantorum directed by Peter Stevens, Assistant Master of Music at Westminster Cathedral.

The Nave Choir of men and boys will again be directed by composer Matthew Martin, recently appointed as Director of Music at Keble College, Oxford, and the Consort of mixed voices by Jeremy Summerly, Director of Music at St Peter’s College, Oxford and conductor of Oxford Camerata. The Festival Director is Benjamin Nicholas, Organist and Director of Music at Merton College, Oxford.

The annual Musical Evening and Supper will take place on Wednesday 26th August in the Festival Marquee. Tickets for this relaxed and entertaining evening are £22.50; simply ring John Pepler on 01225 811344. Why not come with a party of friends?

The 60th Edington Music Festival runs from Sunday 23rd August to Sunday 30th August in the Priory Church, Edington.  All services are free and unticketed.

For more information about the Festival, see the website, www.edington festival.org