Tuesday 19 September 2023

Bringing life to Glasgow's oldest building: the seventh Glasgow Cathedral Festival

De Profundis - the finale to the 2022 Glasgow Cathedral Festival
De Profundis - the finale to the 2022 Glasgow Cathedral Festival
with light, poetry and music from three brass bands

Glasgow Cathedral Festival returns for its seventh season with a weekend of events from 28 September to 1 October 2023 filling Glasgow's oldest building with a wide variety of music from chamber music and cutting-edge electronics to silent film and Minimalism.

The headline event for this year is a performance of Canto Ostinato, a 1974 work by Dutch composer Simeon ten Holt (1923-2012). An iconic work of Dutch Minimalism, Canto Ostinato will be performed on four pianos by 12 pianists from the Piano Association of St Andrews over three hours, against a video backdrop from Trenchone Industries, projected directly onto the gothic cathedral interior. The audience will be invited to move around and get a drink or sit back and relax—creating their own experience of this unique spectacle.

There are two classic silent films with live musical accompaniment. Oleksandr Dovzhenko’s film Earth (1930), a beautiful hymn to nature, will have a new jazz-based score from Ukrainian duo Misha Kalinin (guitar) and Roksana Smirnova (piano). F W Murnau's romance-drama Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927), which won three Oscars at the first ever Academy Awards, will have a score from organist, composer and improvisor Thierry Escaich.

There are lunchtime chamber-music recitals from flautist Matthew James Higham with pianist Hye Soo Kang, the Sacconi Quartet and pianist Emma Abbate, and organist Richard Gowers. Twighlight in the Crypt features Columbian-American soprano Stephanie Lamprea and sound artist Alistair MacDonald for a performance integrating the human voice with avant-garde electronics with music by Katrin Klose, Robert Laidlow, Lisa Robertson and Alistair MacDonald.

There are free tours of the historic building and cathedral’s master stonemason will give a talk explaining the ancient techniques used over the centuries in his fascinating craft, accompanied by a tour of the yard.

Glasgow Cathedral opened in 1197 and is the oldest cathedral on mainland Scotland, though much of the present building dates from the 13th-century rebuilding. The cathedral is dedicated to St Mungo, whose tomb lies at the centre of the building's lower church. Following its foundation in 1451, the University of Glasgow held its first classes within the cathedral's chapter house. Since the Reformation the building has housed Church of Scotland congregations.

Full details from the festival website.

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