Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Chichester Psalms


This magnificent tapestry forms the reredos for the high altar in Chichester Cathedral. It was commissioned in 1966 by Dean Walter Hussey from John Piper. Piper's wife, Myfanwy Piper, was librettist for three of Benjamin Britten's operas, and John Piper designed the Britten memorial window in Aldeburgh Church.

Walter Hussey was a prolific patron of the arts, and among his many commissions was Leonard Bernstein's Chichester Psalms, which was composed for the 1965 Chichester Festival. The work received its premiere in New York with the composer conducting on July 15th 1965, and was performed two weeks later in Chichester with the cathedral's organist John Birch conducting. My lower photo shows the tapestry titled The Reconciliation Gobelin by the German artist Ursula Benker-Schirmer which hangs in the cathedral's retro-choir. This magnificent work, which was made in Bavaria and England, was commissioned after Dean Hussey retired and was installed in 1985, the year of his death.

These photos were taken in May this year when we attended Compline in Chichester Cathedral en route to catching the overnight cross-Channel ferry. We are off on our travels again in a few days. So this will be the last post On An Overgrown Path for a while and there will be delays in moderating comments and responding to emails. Please support other music blogs while I am away and remember -
Keep flowing. We should learn from the river which keeps itself pure and healthy by continuing to flow. If a river gets blocked and the flow is hindered it stagnates, produces a stink and mosquitos breed. We should be like the flowing river - Vinoba Bhave

Photos (c) On An Overgrown Path 2009. Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report broken links, missing images and errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk

3 comments:

The Wound Dresser said...

any post that can combine LB, BB, stained glass and the great Vinoba Bhave is a road woth taking...

Pliable said...

Anyone suffering from path withdrawal symptoms should try playing with the new Explore On An Overgrown Path search feature towards the top of the right-hand side-bar.

It is very fast and also searches comments, which leads to some fascinating Overgrown Paths.

Good exploring!

Pliable said...

Britten and Bernstein ....

I have in front of me the 1977 CBS LP titled Benjamin BrittenIn Memoriam on which Bernstein conducts the New York Philharmonic in orchestral excerpts from Peter Grimes and the premiere recording of Britten's Suite on English Folktunes "A Time There Was".

The extrovert Bernstein and reserved Britten were not close, despite Lennie conducting the American premiere of Peter Grimes. But Bernstein's comments in the film about Britten A Time There Was are immensely illuminating:

Ben Britten was at odds with the world. It's strange, because on the surface Britten's music would seem decorative, positive, charming, but it's so much more than that. When you hear Britten's music, if you really hear it, not just listen to it superficially, you become aware of something dark. There are gears that are grinding and not quite meshing, and they make a great pain.