A choir and an organ in Gloucestershire UK -
'Two first-class new recordings ...'
Two first-class new recordings reveal something of the splendours of music-making
in the central English town of Tewkesbury, situated in Three Choirs Country, midway
between Gloucester (in whose county it narrowly stands) and Worcester.
Tewkesbury Abbey, consecrated in 1121, is one of the two largest parish churches
in England, and proudly boasts the largest Norman tower in the country, which can be
seen for miles across the low-lying Vale of Evesham. Tewkesbury began as a
substantial early eighth century Benedictine Monastery : the religious house lasted
until the Reformation, and part of its remains can still be seen around the present
Some of the greatest and most powerful families of the England Middle Ages
worshipped here : the de Clares, the Despensers and the Beauchamps -- as the Abbey's
impressive tombs and fourteenth century stained glass bear witness. The town
witnessed the bloody final defeat of the Lancastrians by Edward VI's forces under
Richard, Duke of Gloucester (the future Richard III). Henry VI's slain son, Edward
Prince of Wales, is believed buried in the precincts.
The Abbey is home to a host of major choral events including an imaginatively
programmed choral society and a specialist summer course in Church Music. In
particular, it maintains one of the finest surviving Choir Schools in England, the
Abbey School, which furnishes the boy choristers for the Abbey's regular services,
and an organ deemed by many to be the oldest in England still in daily use, with
one of the most striking histories of any British instrument.
Copyright © 24 May 2003
Roderic Dunnett, Coventry, UK