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Ensemble

Sitting pretty?

Walton, Sainsbury and Stanford at the Three Choirs Festival,
reviewed by KEITH BRAMICH

 

Like many modern cities, Worcester in England's Midlands is receiving a gradual facelift, with revamped shopping centres, new pedestrian precincts, one of those fashionable floor-level variable-height fountains and a statue of its most famous son, Edward Elgar (a Catholic) in the shadow of the city's ancient (Anglican) Cathedral. I find the new Worcester, along with its traditional attractions -- the beautiful Severn (with swan sanctuary), the Royal Porcelain factory, the Commandery and, of course, the Cathedral, an attractive and interesting city.

Every three years, Worcester takes its turn, with the neighbouring cities of Gloucester and Hereford, to host the annual Three Choirs Festival, unusual for its alternating venues and because of the festival's connection with the Church of England (with an impressive array of Princes, Archbishops, Bishops and Deans on the main committee) -- concertgoers are treated to an announcement and short prayer at the beginning of each concert. This year's festival, celebrating the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, also presented an expanded fringe festival, running from June until August, in association with Worcester Evening News.

A Festival fringe show near Worcester's new fountain. In the background, the 'Glover's Needle'. Photo: Keith Bramich
A Festival fringe show near Worcester's new fountain. In the background, the 'Glover's Needle'. Photo: Keith Bramich

On 22 August 2002, the Cathedral was the venue for a concert by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra conducted by the Master of the Choristers at Worcester Cathedral and Artistic Director of the 2002 festival, Adrian Lucas. The orchestra, founded in 1893 by Sir Dan Godfrey, known worldwide for hundreds of recordings, has been through a rather difficult time of late, with the psychological shock resulting from the axing of its associated Sinfonietta. Things now look set to improve -- the orchestra has a new leader, Duncan Riddell, and in October 2002, the talented American conductor Marin Alsop takes over as the first female Principal Conductor of any British Symphony Orchestra.

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Copyright © 30 August 2002 Keith Bramich, London, UK

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LIONEL SAINSBURY TALKS TO KEITH BRAMICH

PHILIP LANCASTER AT THE 2001 THREE CHOIRS FESTIVAL

THE THREE CHOIRS FESTIVAL WEBSITE

THE BOURNEMOUTH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

LORRAINE McASLAN

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