A WEEK-long music festival will be held at Salisbury Cathedral.

Salisbury Cathedral will mark the centenary of one of the titans of late 19th and early 20th century music this May, with a week-long festival of music celebrating the life and work of Sir Charles Villiers Stanford.

Stanford is largely remembered for his songs and religious music, but his influence extends beyond his own work to the work of students he taught at the Royal College of Music and Cambridge University, including household names such as Sir Arthur Bliss, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Gustav Holst, Herbert Howells and Ralph Vaughan Williams.

READ MORE: Red carpet rolled out for vintage 50s and 60s fashion show

Stanford Festival starts on Bank Holiday Monday, May 6, with Evensong sung by Truro Cathedral Choir, including the Stanford in A canticles and the anthem For lo, I raise up, a dramatic piece composed in 1914 in response to the outbreak of the First World War, but not published until 1945, over 20 years after Stanford’s death.

Salisbury Journal: Salisbury Cathedral will hold a week-long music festival in MaySalisbury Cathedral will hold a week-long music festival in May (Image: Julian Elliott)

The following day, Tuesday, May 7, Evensong features the Stanford in C canticles and Valiant for Truth, written by one of his most famous students, Ralph Vaughan Williams, and sung by Salisbury Cathedral Choir.

On Thursday, May 9, Ascension Day, the Eucharist motet celebrates Jesus Christ ascending to Heaven in Cœlos Ascendit Hodie, the second of Stanford’s well-known three motets written when he was organist at Trinity College, Cambridge.

Evensong on Friday, May 10, is sung by the Lay Vicars, or adult singers, of Salisbury Cathedral Choir and features works written by another of Stanford’s students, the celebrated church composer Charles Wood, including his anthem Great Lord of Lords.

Two further Evensongs on Saturday, May 11, and Sunday, May 12, and the Sunday morning services will feature the work of Stanford and his pupils sung by a combination of the Cathedral Choir and the Choir of St Matthew’s Church, Westminster.

As part of the celebratory festival two concerts built around the composer’s own works and those of his pupils will take place on May 8 and 11. Tickets are now on sale via the Cathedral website.

  • Wednesday May 8 at 7.30pm – Organ Recital - John Challenger, Assistant Director of Music, performs amongst other works, Stanford’s dynamic and thrilling Fantasia and Toccata in D minor, inspired by J. S. Bach. The big screen offers the audience a backstage view into the organ loft, allowing them to observe John as he puts the Cathedral’s magnificent Father Willis organ through its paces while they listen.
  • Saturday, May 11 at 7.30pm  – Choral Concert - The combined choirs of Salisbury Cathedral and St Matthew’s Church, Westminster, sing at the Spire Crossing and West End respectively, performing a wide-ranging programme of work by Stanford and his illustrious students.

Highlights at this concert will include three of Stanford’s Bible songs – A song of Trust ‘I will lift mine eyes’, A Song of Peace and A Song of Wisdom - and his Three Latin Motets - Justorum animæ and Beati quorum via, plus Vaughan Williams’ Lord, Thou hast been our refuge, Holst’s Nunc Dimittis, Stanford’s Latin Magnificat and the ‘Collegium Regale’ Te Deum by Herbert Howells.

For more information, contact the Cathedral Box Office on 01722 656555 or boxoffice@salcath.co.uk.