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St Dunstan: new and ancient music

March 13, 2014

Dunstan003

Dunstan is one of our local saints here in Somerset. This will be the first performance of new music written for Opus Anglicanum by Diana Burrell. Ticket price includes reception and refreshments after the concert.

The concert is preceded by an optional Chant Experience workshop in the cathedral (Vicars’ Hall) 10am to 4pm. Booking (essential) here.

Diana’s beautiful and inspiring work sets a patchwork text chosen by herself. It comprises poetic passages from the Anglo Saxon chronicle, verses from a hymn to Dunstan written during the Viking invasions, and the song of Sedulius, ‘Sing, friends, sing to the honour of the Lord’, which Dunstan saw in a vision sung and danced by angels in St Augustine’s church in Canterbury whilst he was archbishop.

It is part of a concert sequence telling the story of the life and visions of Dunstan, accompanied by some rare and wonderful late Anglo Saxon chant composed in his honour during in the century following his death in 988.

‘He often learnt by spiritual vigilance and divine intuition the melodies of sacred songs sung to him by angels even while asleep and when he sang the service he seemed to talk with the Lord Himself face to face.’

As a harpist, a craftsman who made bells and organs, a scribe and a scholar, a revered and striking figure and churchman, he was a vibrant and creative part of the wonderful contemporary flowering of learning and cultural life. He was Abbot of Glastonbury, Bishop of Worcester, and Archbishop of Canterbury, and advisor to successive 10th century Kings of England.

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