Musical History at St Paul’s Church

CHAS held its first face to face talk since the pandemic at St Paul’s Church on September 13th (image 1 below). CHAS Chairman, Bob Collins wore a special musical tie for the occasion, but it took our speaker, Dr Stephen Foster, Senior Lay Clerk at Canterbury Cathedral, less than a second to identify the fragment of score as being composed by Mozart. In his talk Dr Foster described the wide variety of theatres and other concert venues that were used for music-making in 18th Century Canterbury (see map of 1768 with superimposed venue locations and key – images 2 and 3 below). The text of an example of an advertisement for a concert is shown in image 4 below. On this occasion there was a musical rendition of the Canterbury Balad by a Miss Oates. The text of the Canterbury Balad is available by clicking here. Ballads such as these were often published without a printed melody. If a specific tune was not named the performers could sing them to tunes that were popular. Dr Foster has used a tune associated with Christopher Marlowe’s poem, “Come live with me and be my love.” to score his own arrangement (image 5) of the Canterbury Balad using instruments likely to have been available at the time; and on the evening he sung his version while accompanying himself on the grand piano. This is possibly a first for a CHAS talk. The talk and musical content were well appreciated by those present. CHAS extends a special thanks to Jackie (from St Paul’s Church) who masterminded the use of the high-tech audiovisual equipment.

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