Three Choirs Triple Centenary Celebration in Norwich

Choristers from Ely, Norwich and Peterborough cathedrals were on excellent form for their first joint concert for more than 25 years in Norwich Cathedral as part of this year’s Norfolk & Norwich Festival on Thursday (24 May).

The concert celebrated three of this year’s centenaries, the birth of Leonard Bernstein, the death of Hubert Parry and the founding of the Choir Schools’ Association. It also included the world première of a work Dark Sayings  by Alex Woolf, still in his early twenties.

American composer Leonard Bernstein is perhaps best known for West Side Story. The three choirs started their concert with Bernstein’s highly acclaimed Chichester Psalms.

Hubert Parry, the English composer who gave us Jerusalem, died on 7 October 1918 and the programme featured two of his anthems including I Was Glad – one of the most rousing and popular anthems of all time. Vaughn Williams, Holst and Ireland, all pupils of Parry, were also included in the programme.

Steffan Griffiths, Head Master of Norwich School said: ““We are thrilled that the Three Choirs tradition has been revived in the East of England to celebrate this trio of anniversaries. It was a wonderful concert, with a stimulating programme in the inspirational setting of Norwich Cathedral that shows off the best of the English choral tradition. It also served to remind us all how music is uniquely placed to bring people together, whether performers or audience”.

Concert goers were the first to hear a special commission for the Norfolk & Norwich Festival by Alex Woolf, who was BBC Young Composer of the Year in 2012. Alex was a music scholar at St John’s College, Cambridge and recent compositions include a new flute work for James Galway which was commissioned by Classic FM and The Royal Philharmonic Society.