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Magna Carta: A musical backdrop | Chandos Singers

Saturday November 21, 2015 at 15:00
St John the Evangelist Church, Bath
£10, students £5
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The Chandos Singers, conducted by Malcolm Hill, are one of Bath’s leading chamber choirs. Soloists Jane Hunt, Paul Feldwick and Peter Hodgson along with the Chandos Singers perform music associated with the signing of Magna Carta by King John on the Monday (or possibly Tuesday) after Trinity Sunday 2015.

Surprisingly, we know much of what was sung at the special Mass on Trinity morning at Windsor, where the king and his combative Archbishop Langton were staying. It seems that after the morning Mass, Langton went to Runnymede, where the barons were assembling.

Since the 750th anniversary celebrations in 1965, more evidence has come to light about the specially-chosen texts that were sung on the eve of the signing – by the king’s small but trained group and the barons’ large but less disciplined body of singers.

The concert will include reconstructions of both texts, with other music known to have been sung during that week. Most of the church music was still plainsong, but contemporary secular polyphonic textures were starting to be introduced. The concert ends with Bath poet Caroline Heaton’s poem about the effects of Magna Carta, musically set in a late-medieval style.

Between the two short parts of the concert, historian Dominic Singleton will give a talk on the relevance of the document.

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St John the Evangelist Church
South Parade
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