Once again, the Cathedral Choristers are heavily involved in this year’s new music wells festival, which will see them performing in the world premieres of no less than eight new works! This year is the festival’s tenth anniversary, running from Friday 12 – Thursday 18 October 2017.
Building on the success of previous years, all music during the Cathedral’s services and at five special concerts will be selected from repertoire written over the last 40 years.
This year’s distinguished Composer-in-Residence is Diana Burrell, who celebrates her 70th birthday shortly after the festival. She will have two works premiered by Wells Cathedral Choir, this first of which is a setting of the Collect, Grant, we beseech thee, merciful Lord for the Cranmer Anthem Book, which will be performed at the service of Choral Evensong at 3.00pm on Sunday 14 October. Secondly, her new verse anthem Sing Alleluia forth in duteous praise for choir, alto and baritone soli, and organ will be given its first performance on Thursday 18 October at the 5.15pm service of Choral Evensong. At the Cathedral Eucharist service at 9.45am on Sunday 14 October, Wells Cathedral Choir will give the first performance of a new mass by Lord (Michael) Berkeley CBE, entitled Missa ‘O Sacrum convivium’, and at the same service the choir will also give the first performance of its companion motet, O Sacrum Convivium. The festival will also include world premiere performances of works by William Drakett, Barnaby Martin and Kerensa Briggs, as well as Thomas Nettle and Rebecca Farthing, both of whom are students at Wells Cathedral School.
In other events, Michael Berkeley CBE – presenter of BBC Radio 3’s Private Passions will be in conversation with fellow composer Diana Burrell, on Wednesday 17 October: Composer Conversations with Michael Berkeley begins at 2.30pm in the Quilter Hall, Wells Cathedral School. Diana Burrell will give a public composition masterclass in Cedars Hall on the afternoon of Thursday 18 October, working with students from Wells Cathedral School. Admission to all of these events is free.
There will be five lunchtime concerts during the week, all starting at 1.05pm in the North Transept of the Cathedral: a recital of music for trumpet and organ on Friday 12 (with Oliver Chubb and David Bednall); students from Wells Cathedral School will give lunchtime recitals on Monday 15, Tuesday 16 and Wednesday 17 October, including music by the school’s student composers. Finally, Wells Cathedral’s Assistant Organist, Jeremy Cole, will give an organ recital on Thursday 18 October, featuring music by Judith Bingham (President of the festival), Diana Burrell, Tarik O’Regan (in his 40th birthday year), Lord (Michael) Berkeley CBE (in his 70th birthday year), and the first performance of a new work for organ and electronics by Barnaby Martin. Admission to all five concerts is free, with retiring collections to support Wells Cathedral Music.
Following on from the success of last year, the innovative new music bells will take place after Evensong on Sunday 14. The Cathedral’s bell ringers will perform the world premiere of a new bell ringing method, entitled new music wells 78-18 little bob caters. ‘Little bob’ is a class of method, and ‘caters’ refers to nine bells in changes.