Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Hallelujah!

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June 13 2008
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Hi, and big hello to the IMPROG folk! I hope you enjoy my piece on music.
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A couple of hours ago I attended evensong at Winchester Cathedral. As I made my way through this magnificent building to the tiny Lady Chapel all I could hear was the sound of my footsteps. It was eerily quiet. There has been a cathedral on this site since 648AD and the foundations of today's magnificent building were laid down in the year 1079. And today I was alone this enormous echoing space.

Ten minutes later 21 of us sat in the velvet seated stalls around the walls of this ancient room. There was total silence. Suddenly the sound of voices wafted through the cathedral from the transept some distance away. Souring voices in perfect harmony. Filling every corner of one of the largest sacred buildings in Europe. Then all was quiet again. We stood as a solemn verger lead a red and white robed choir linto the chapel. They broke into song. A huge noise. I shivered.

Anthems, response, psalms. Thirty voices swooping and swirling, this way then that. Soft as a whisper then loud as thunder. All thoughts were cleared from my mind as music filled my entire body.

The words of the psalm were pure poetry.

Let the sea roar, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together!


The words of the Bible reading a little alarming!

Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

After forty minutes on this emotional roller-coaster, the choir stood, tuned, and followed the verger out of the chapel and disappeared into the gloom of the Cathedral. We sat in silence. As if nothing had happened.

I wandered slowly down the nave. The people I was sitting with minutes before seem to have evaporated - disappeared. Only I was there. I walked past the tomb of St Swithan and across the final resting place of Jane Austin. This was the nave down which Oliver Cromwell famously galloped his horse. The nave where for centuries Kings and Queens have processed. And I had it all to myself.

At the same time tomorrow, seventeen hundred dignitaries and seven hundred members of the public would be cramming into this vast building for the first of the annual carol services. A choir of 60 voices, three opera singers, a symphony orchestra and the mighty organ shaking the building to it’s very foundations.

But right then it was just me. And my maker. Assuming of course I believe in such things!
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A video of Winchester Cathedral choir




More pictures of Winchester Cathedral here

Article on the City of Winchester here
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7 comments:

  1. What a beautiful building, you made me feel as if I was there.

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  2. thank you for allowing me to be at your shoulder as you walked the cathedral alone. Ramble on, good man.

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  3. Keith, I could feel the silence in my heart and soul, beautifully narrated...places like these I would rather visit without having another soul around...thank you for sharing this experience.

    UL

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  4. Keith you would have a measure of faith to be there! The Psalms are soothing for in them much comfort can be had. It's an out pouring of songs and poetry. It gives hope for forgiveness, expresses sorrow in sins, and laments faith in God.

    I shiver having read what you wrote about you walking among all this greatness by yourself. See my mind sees in 3-D so to speak, I am seeing the past and future collide as you walk here among all those before and you being the present.

    Keith don't ever say you are not a write of any genra, seriously Keith when you write your thoughts come alive, it's like you take us on this wonderful journey with you.

    There is nothing greater than to hear voices raised in song. I have truly always enjoyed hearing men sing. Their booming voices brings tears to my eyes, especially when joined in beautiful music, I think that is why I like IL DIVO, Andre, Gypsy Kings, Pavorrati and so on excellence at its best.

    Man you went and got me all mushy and such. How wonderful to have all of this around you!!!!

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  5. Keith,

    I was taking the tour with you: I was with your every ehoing steps silenced by this majestic cathedral; my soul is soothe by the angelic voices singing, the holy poetic words of psalms and the sanctity of the place. Their must be 22 people sitted in the velvet seated stalls around the walls of this ancient room if you count me, or even more if you include the people who would read this article. You wrote this skillfully that you made me feel like being there with you communing with all the holiness of the place. You were not alone wandering down the nave, I tag-along your trail of thoughts and I share your impressions of the place and I took every details with me home realizing in the end that I'm sitted infront my writing table just reading, and yes home with my creator.

    This is a piece where the gift giver and the mind of the gifted converged, undoubtedly inspired by the sanctity of the place, the result: An excellent work!

    Thanks for taking me their.

    I wish you well.

    ~ Jeques

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  6. The improg people love Keith.

    :-)

    http://improgging.blogspot.com

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  7. Beautiful photos and experience- thanks for sharing!!

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