About this event

When the Abbey of St Edmund was established in the year 1020, the glorious sounds that rang through its mighty arches were those of plainsong, the already ancient musical treasure of the Church. Plainsong would be sung by the monks every day in the cycle of the daily services known as the “offices.” The great abbeys of Christendom shared the experience of these uplifting yet strangely calming sounds. The Abbey of St Edmund, one of the greatest of them all, would have rung with this music day and night.

In 1915 the great Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninov turned aside from the writing of his magnificent piano concertos and symphonies, and focused on the plainsong tunes of a chain of services known as “the All-Night Vigil”, (but often referred to as the “Vespers”) weaving a rich and complex galaxy of choral sound around the plainsong tunes – a kind of choral “orchestra” with the choir sometimes in as many as twelve parts, but always built around the ancient plainsong tunes.

As the sun goes down on Friday 27th May, The English Arts Chorale and Eye Bach Choir sing an hour’s glorious choral music from this magnificent and awe-inspiring galaxy of sound in the most appropriate of all venues – St Edmundsbury Cathedral. With an atmosphere more that of a liturgical event than a concert, admission to this remarkable and rare event is free of charge.

Free Entry. No booking required.

Part of the Abbey 1000 celebrations to celebrate 1,000 years since the founding of the Abbey of St Edmund in Bury St Edmunds. For more Abbey 1000 events see our Abbey 1000 Guide.

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