Monday, 28 November 2011

Celebrating music

Last week started with an amazing performance of Mahler’s Eighth Symphony at the Albert Hall on November 21. This monumental work is rarely performed because of the numbers needed. There were 1,000 performers with a 116 strong orchestra, four choirs (the Barts choir, the New London Singers, Wimbledon Choral Society and a children’s choir) and the full force of the Albert Hall’s organ. Friends of ours sing in the Barts choir and we were delighted to support them and hear this incredible performance.

Wednesday, November 23 was the annual service in aid of the Musicians Benevolent Fund to celebrate the Festival of Saint Cecilia at Westminster Cathedral. The Masters, Wardens and Clerks of the Livery Companies process into the church in gowns and chains and it is a very colourful sight – and gathers a crowd of slightly mystified tourists.

The service is always beautiful and the Worshipful Company of Musicians commissions a new work each year: it is lovely to hear the traditional combined with the new. The Festival gives thanks and celebrates music and musicians. Whatever one’s religious beliefs a few moments in a beautiful place of worship listening to wonderful music are very worthwhile.

The story of Saint Cecilia is somewhat terrifying and I leave you to read about it.

The Needlemakers (in the person of the Clerk!) always arranges a lunch at a local restaurant or hotel for those Liverymen and their guests attending the service and this year we had an excellent lunch and enjoyable time at the Mint Hotel in Westminster.

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