Saturday, January 01, 2005

Bach at St Peter Mancroft, Norwich

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One New Year's resolution was to make On An Overgrown Path a bit more spontaneous, and a bit less like an online version of the Discovery Channel. So in line with that New Year's Day saw a visit to the church of St Peter Mancroft Norwich for the traditional all Bach organ recital played by their Organist and Master of Music Kenneth Ryder.

St Peter Mancroft is in the heart of Norwich, and the present church dates from 1390 when it was attached to the former nearby Benedictine community of St Mary in the Fields. The magnificent 14th Century church is now juxtaposed against the striking 20th Century Forum building which houses Norwich Library and other amenities.

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The organ is a large three manual Werkprinzip instrument built by Peter Collins in 1984, which is wonderfully suited to music of the baroque period.

Fascinating that within a week The Overgrown Path has taken me from the magnificent remains of the Cluniac Priory at Castle Acre, in remote North Norfolk via Vespers at the active Carmelite monastery in rural Quidenham, to the music of the Lutheran master musician JS Bach in a former Benedictine church in the centre of Norwich.

The recital was made more moving by the addition of the Schubler Chorale "Wenn wir in hochsten Nothen Sein" - "When in the hour of utmost need" played in remembrance of all those suffering as a result of the terrible earthquake in the Indian Ocean which has dominated everyone's thoughts this Christmas and New Year. Donations to the Asia Earthquake and Floods Appeal can be made online here

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