Wednesday, 11 August 2010


Gloucester hosts the Three Choirs Festival this year. Ivor Gurney sang at the festival as a young Gloucester Cathedral chorister, so it is appropriate that music by this native son should be well represented in the programme.

The festival sees the world première of Gurney's A Gloucestershire Rhapsody, to be performed tomorrow (Thursday 12 August) in Cheltenham by the Philharmonia Orchestra. On Friday, back in Gloucester, the Three Choirs Festival chorus performs Gurney's choral setting of Edward Thomas's poem 'The Trumpet'. It is orchestrated by Philip Lancaster, who discusses both poem and setting here. Gurney's String Quartet in A Major is performed today by the Dante Quartet, along with two songs by Gurney Trustee Ian Venables (who also edited A Gloucestershire Rhapsody along with Philip Lancaster.)

Having been shamefully slow to honour one of its most gifted sons, Gloucester is now making amends with a new 68ft Candle statue, recently installed in the docks, which has lines from two of Gurney's poems at its base. This follows the official unveiling of a blue plaque last September near Gurney's birthplace.

The flurry of activity coincides with the culmination of Philip Lancaster's three-year project to create an online catalogue of Gurney's papers, the first part of which will go live later this week. Philip has been recording progress via his blog, and he gives an account of the importance of Gurney's papers in the University of Exeter's press release here. Philip is finishing a PhD with me at Exeter on Gurney, and he and I are currently working towards a three-volume edition of Gurney's complete writings for Oxford University Press.

A selection of Gurney's manuscripts is on display to the public at the Gloucestershire Archives all week.

Updates from Philip on the week's events can be found here, here and here.

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