Monday, 3 September 2012

Gladly Solemn Sound's Heritage Concert announced


Gladly Solemn Sound, a Lancaster-based choir, will be performing in the city's best-known closed church, St. John's this weekend -- part of the Heritage Weekend programme which offers free entry to local historic venues.

Formed in 1992, the Gladly Solemn Sound now number about two dozen and usually sing unaccompanied, though a small string band is sometimes added for special occasions.

They sing West Gallery Music: the all but forgotten rural church music of the 18th and early 19th centuries, disliked by Victorian reformers and supplanted by the more decorous 'Hymns Ancient and Modern', sung by children's choirs, to organ or harmonium accompaniment.

West Gallery "quires" were led by fiddles, clarinets, cellos, bassoons etc - music florid and lively, rhythmically energetic, delighting in earthy (sometimes unorthodox) harmonies and simple polyphony.

Gladly Solemn's Sound repertoire consists mostly of English metrical psalm settings, anthems and carols (often taken directly from local manuscript sources), but they also sing related material: secular glees, American Sacred Harp music and pieces recently composed in a compatible idiom.

The choir has performed at concerts, folk festivals, weddings (including a pagan wedding) and has made two CDs.

• The Gladly Solemn Sound, 1.00pm, Saturday 8th September, St John's Church, North Road, Lancaster

• Official web site: www.gladlysolemn.co.uk

• More about West Gallery Music: www.wgma.org.uk

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