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Singing the praises of prayer book
11:00am Wednesday 12th September 2012 in Romsey
A CELEBRATION to mark the 350th anniversary of the Book of Common Prayer is taking place in Romsey Abbey.
An oratorio called Prayerbook is to be performed at the abbey on September 14 with musicians coming from Oxford and Cambridge Universities to take part.
An impressive line-up of musicians performing includes the baritone Peter Savidge, the Waynflete Singers of Winchester, choristers of New College, Oxford, the Navarra String Quartet, soprano Fiona Hymns, and Over-the-Bridge, the Barber-Shop Quartet from Clare College, Cambridge.
David Coram will play the organ part on Romsey’s fully-restored 1858 instrument.
However, special responsibility has been given to the Vicar of Romsey, the Rev Tim Sledge, who will play the one, enormous, cymbal-clash right at the end.
The performance will mark the landmark anniversary of the Book of Common Prayer, which incorporates a number of prayer books used in the Anglican Communion.
Rev Sledge said: “this is one of the most imaginative and original ones to celebrate what is really a historic landmark, not just for the Church, but for the English language,” he said.
“It was one of the most defining, changing pieces of English literature.
“We don’t use it all the time, but it’s very much a part of what we’re about and what we do.”
Of his own role in the piece he said he was thrilled to be involved but conscious of getting it right.
“It’s one of those things where you crash it once but if I get it wrong then everybody will known about it,” he said.
The oratorio, which is about tradition and change, is the work of classical composer and concert pianist David Owen Norris, from Andover, who has performed at the abbey in the past and will conduct on the day.
A professor of Musical Performance at the University of Southampton, Mr Norris, is also an organist of Poole Parish Church and President of Andover Music Club.
He has appeared on TV and radio was BBC TV’s Proms commentator for Elgar & Howells in August, and in early September he’s filming piano masterclasses for the BBC website.
He is currently preparing the first professional production since 1836 of Dickens’s opera, The Village Coquettes, which will be staged in late October at the Nuffield Theatre, in Southampton Tickets for Prayerbook, which starts at 7.30pm cost £15, £12 and £10. Call the box office, on 01794 512987. To hear a sample of the music, log on to davidowennorris.com/prayerbook.