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Hampton Court


Visiting Hampton Court Palace is a great day out for tourists, and something I always recommend to visitors. But its Chapel Royal Choir is for real; not a historical re-enactment, but the physical continuation of the sixteenth-century musical tradition which was born there. What I "really" recommend to my visitors is that they take the train out to Hampton Court's weekly Sunday 3.30pm evensong, and hear this supreme musical liturgy in its original home.


Recently the Choir have been joining forces occasionally with the choir of Christ Church Cathedral Oxford. Both institutions were set up by Cardinal Wolsey, and then lived through grim historical times. In the best sense, their joint Hampton Court performance on St Cecilia's day was "spine-chilling"; an hour's recital of Purcell ( a former Gentleman of the Chapel Royal) in the Chapel's unusually transparent acoustic, making the music sound almost Schoenbergian in its complexity and strange beauty. One more of my recommendations is to keep abreast of the Chapel Royal Choral Foundation, so that you too can attend one of these beautiful occasions when they next take place.

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JUDITH WEIR

Composer

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