The advent of our newly founded Charitable Trust in January 2018 has enabled the Cathedral Music Department to explore more opportunities to engage with our local community through music. It is entirely fitting that we begin this exciting journey with a celebration of music at the Cathedral, bringing groups and individuals from across Nottingham and beyond together.
The year 1918 marks not only the end of World War One, but also the beginning of female suffrage in England with the passing of the Representation of the People Act. One hundred years on from this monumental year, Nottingham Cathedral joins many others in celebrating these important centenaries with a Music Festival that commemorates the horrors of war and extols female fortitude.
Our Festival opens with the return of Roderick Williams, alongside Iain Burnside, in a recital of works by composers and poets who served in the Great War. Papagena, the all-female a cappella group, will enchant with music that bridges centuries and spans genres with their acclaimed ‘Nuns and Roses’ programme. Amy Summers builds on her busy time as Composer-in-Residence with a new commission, dedicated to those who served in the First World War, for our Festival Mass – a fitting opportunity to pause and reflect, before the moving and poignant ‘Letters from the Front’recital of music and readings by our friends, Essentially Brass.
Undoubtedly, the climax of the festival will be our performance of the church opera Tobias and the Angel by Jonathan Dove and David Lan - the culmination of a term-long project supported by Arts Council England. An ancient story and modern libretto coalesce with a rich tapestry of sound, creating the ultimate depiction of triumph over suffering, and of the importance of faith. Our Cathedral Choir and Youth Choir are joined by young opera soloists, children and young people from Music for Everyone’s Youth Choirs, and Streetwise Opera, a charity that uses music to support those who have experienced homelessness. In its most practical sense, the aim of our Charitable Trust begins to be realised, with the coming together of such a range of communities to perform this remarkable opera that speaks to us all with its universal themes.
I do hope you will be able to join us for this unique festival – a journey through the ages celebrating our unity through the sharing of music – all in the beautiful surrounding of Nottingham’s Pugin-designed Cathedral.