Martin Baker plays works selected from his inaugural concert on the acclaimed new organ of Buckfast Abbey. This magnificent instrument – the largest in the South West of England – was the first built in the United Kingdom by the renowned Italian organ builder Fratelli Ruffatti. Martin’s programme opens with music by Dom Sebastian Wolff, the Abbey’s long-serving monk, composer and organist. Other works explore each nuance and tonal variety of this innovative instrument, located in both the Quire and West Gallery of the Abbey Church. The recital culminates in Martin’s own organ transcription of Mussorgsky’s evocative Pictures at an Exhibition.
The Choir of Westminster Cathedral is world famous for its staple of plainsong and polyphony. The choir explores a wealth of music from this repertoire for the richest of liturgical seasons: Holy Week. Masterpieces of the Renaissance by William Byrd and Tomás Luis de Victoria are woven together with ancient Gregorian chants, including Pange lingua and Adoro te, and later penitential works by Anton Bruckner and Maurice Duruflé. Three of the Cathedral’s illustrious Masters of Music, all of whom have contributed to the Church’s treasury of liturgical music, are also represented. The sequence culminates in a setting of Saint John Henry Newman’s poem Praise to the Holiest in the height by Richard Runciman Terry, the Cathedral’s pioneering Master of Music.
The Choir of Buckfast Abbey presents music for the First Vespers of Our Lady of Buckfast, the Abbey’s patronal feast on 24 May. The Gregorian chant of the Monastic Rite is interspersed with glorious polyphonic works by Felice Anerio, William Byrd and Francisco Guerrero, culminating in the splendid Magnificat Octavi toni by Tomás Luis de Victoria. A thrilling new arrangement of the traditional devotional hymn Hail, Queen of heaven is the climax of this joyous service. Full use of the tonal capability of the Abbey’s Ruffatti organ is made throughout, with a number of liturgical improvisations.