“Useless in the choir”: the music and musicians of Canterbury Cathedral 1700-1760

Conference paper


Price, C. 2016. “Useless in the choir”: the music and musicians of Canterbury Cathedral 1700-1760.
AuthorsPrice, C.
TypeConference paper
Description

The archives of Canterbury Cathedral, in common with most cathedrals and collegiate churches, hold a number of 17th- and 18th-century part-books which give a clear idea of the repertoire in the cathedral at that time. As usual, they include music in common currency, but also a number of pieces which seem never to have travelled beyond Canterbury’s precincts, composed by the incumbent organists of the day, including Daniel Henstridge and William Raylton.

The archives also hold some fascinating source material which complements the music, contributing to a fuller understanding of the ecclesiastical, musical and social milieu in which it was composed and sung. Twenty-four “Dean’s Books” and “Chapter Act Books” record the Dean and Chapter’s deliberations – and disagreements – for a period of 200 years from 1694, and a series of “Precentor’s Books” patiently record the many absences of Minor Canons and Lay Clerks for the same period, and beyond. The result paints a fascinating picture of the clergy, men and boys who performed the daily offices (twice a day, every day of the year, without holidays) and the arrangements made behind the scenes for their care – or lack of it. Considering some of the appalling behaviour – including thieving choristers and utterly reprehensible men – it is quite remarkable that the Anglican liturgical tradition was maintained, and this paper will attempt to bring these remarkable sources together, along with some later perspectives.

Year2016
Conference17th Biennial International Conference on Baroque Music
Publication process dates
Deposited19 Jan 2017
Completed15 Jul 2016
Accepted author manuscript
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https://repository.canterbury.ac.uk/item/88087/-useless-in-the-choir-the-music-and-musicians-of-canterbury-cathedral-1700-1760

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