St Albans Abbey steps back in time

SOME of the oldest music known to have been sung at St Albans Abbey is being performed again after 800 years of silence at a concert-lecture next Tuesday evening, November 23.

In the middle of the 12th Century, the Abbey was near the pinnacle of Anglo-Norman monasticism, a thriving artistic centre with one of the finest scriptoria in the country. The cultural and liturgical life was fostered and developed through connections across the country.

During the concert-lecture, music will be performed by the Schola Cantorum of Fisher House, a choir composed of members of the Catholic Chaplaincy in Cambridge.

The music, which dates back to the 12th Century, is taken from manuscripts written at the time, including two which contain music for the Mass including the Gregorian Propers, Sequences and troped Ordinaries, some of which are unique to St Albans.

Guest speaker Matthew Ward from St John’s College Cambridge will lead the lecture.

Commenting on the event Christopher Muhley, of the St Albans Cathedral Music Trust, said: “It will be a night to remember. Some of the music that will be performed has not been sung in the Abbey for over 800 years and it is very fitting that this event will take place under the Norman tower.”

Tickets at �7 each are available from St Albans Cathedral Music, The Development Office, Sumpter Yard, St Albans AL1 1BY. Cheques should be made payable to St Albans Cathedral Music Trust and an sae included. The performance begins at 7.30pm with light refreshments available from 6.45pm in the North Transept.