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North of England

Making a Joyful Noise Music at Durham Cathedral

todaySeptember 19, 2017 20

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The exhibition features a selection of music manuscripts and early-printed books from the Cathedral’s collections, examining the range of music used from medieval times to the present day. Objects on display includes Anglo-Saxon hymnals, medieval service books, and music used by the monastic choir, as well as some of the rare and unusual music manuscripts from the collections. Pieces such as medieval manuscripts dating from the 11th Century, as well as several instruments and other vital pieces will be featured in the exhibition.  Music enhances our worship of God, it speaks to us both at sad times and joyful times, and it can inspire, uplift and revive the spirit. Always central, music forms a vibrant part of life and worship at the Cathedral.

As part of the Making a Joyful Noise! Music at Durham Cathedral exhibition there will be a special focus on music composed in or especially for Durham, or by composers associated with Durham.

Durham is unusual among Cathedrals in the breadth of its collections, particularly in how much material has been retained from before the Reformation. Many of these early pieces are still in use today, although sung from modern copies of music.  Making a Joyful Noise! Music at Durham Cathedral will look at how the traditions of music have altered, and the different ways developed to write it down – from neumes and Ars Nova to modern notation. It will explore how the choral tradition has changed over time: how monastic choirs began to include lay singers, eventually extending after the Reformation to include the full congregation in singing praise to God.

Daniel Cook, Durham Cathedral’s newly appointed Master of the Choristers and Organist, says “The wealth of musical heritage at Durham Cathedral is exceptional and I am proud to be a part of it. Making a Joyful Noise! Music at Durham Cathedral offers an insightful view into how music has changed at Durham Cathedral over the centuries and is an exhibition that everyone can enjoy.”

Marie-Thérèse Mayne, Exhibitions Officer at Open Treasure, says “Within our Open Treasure exhibition we explore a wide range of different themes. I am delighted that our new temporary exhibition will focus on music, with the opportunity to show more of the fascinating objects we have in the collection. Following the success of our previous temporary exhibitions, such as Magna Carta and The Forest Charter and Beasts, we look forward to seeing our visitors’ reaction to our new display.”

Click below to listen Ian Britton reporting from Durham Cathedral

Written by: Miriam Emenike

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