This afternoon Evensong was held at 3:30 pm instead of the usual 5:30 pm because it was being broadcast live on the BBC. They actually have a regular program called Choral Evensong and every week it is broadcast from a different location. This week they are broadcasting from the Three Choirs Festival at Worcester Cathedral.
If you click here, you will be able to listen to the broadcast for the next 29 days. Hint: you can listen without registering. Registration requires a British post code—U.S. Zip codes won’t work!
There was a little different procedure today for Evensong owing to the broadcast. We were asked to be seated by 3:15 pm and of course, to make sure that our mobile phones were switched off.
Everyone, including the choir, was seated quietly well before the service. There was no organ prelude to have people talk over. Instead the choir sang an introit, Edgar Day’s Round me falls the night. They were given the pitch by the organ approximately 30 seconds before the red light went on, signaling that we were on the air.
Also instead of standing at the Gloria after the Psalm, we were to remain seated, to minimize the amount of noise.
The choir sang responses by their director, Peter Nardone, and Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis by Thomas Hewitt Jones, b. 1984. I must admit, these Jones settings sounded “wild!” with improvisatory organ interludes.
The anthem was Psalm 23 by Charles V. Stanford, which I had never heard before, and the postlude was by Ian King, A Worcester Fantasy, composed especially for this occasion.
What I absolutely loved was that everyone sat quietly during the postlude (including the choir), and no one talked or made noise.
Wish this were always the case! Too many people think of organ music as just background music. They don’t realize that when people are talking, it is a distraction liable to making the organist lose focus and concentration!
Sorry, I’ll get off my soapbox now!
This morning it was again cold and rainy and I decided to spend my time indoors at a museum. The Museum of Royal Worcester was close to my hotel—I wouldn’t ordinarily think that a museum full of porcelain dishes would be interesting, but surprisingly, with an audio guide, I learned a lot about the development of the porcelain industry.
In 1788 King George III and Queen Charlotte attended the Worcester Music meeting (the forerunner of the Three Choirs Festival). They also toured the Worcester Porcelain Factory, giving great encouragement to the firm.
Children were used in the factories and worked 12 hours a day, from 6 am to 6 pm in the summer, and 8 am to 8 pm in the winter. Apprentices were very strictly controlled. Talking and staring out of the window was forbidden for all employees and permission would have to be sought even to use the lavatory. Boys were fined out of their wages for bad behavior such as whistling in the department, not arriving until after breakfast, chasing mice and numerous other boyish pranks. The foreman kept his charges in order, knowing the money would be returned at the end of the year, paying for the boys annual outing to the seaside or London.
Also notice the detail on the teapot, cup and saucer below. These are individual beads, done by hand and “by eye”—if the beads were put on mathematically, they would not have been so perfect. Neither did the person who put these on use any sort of guide marks. Remarkable!