‘Love Divine’ composer’s work on show in new exhibition and world premiere
(9 March 2011)
A celebration of Sir John Stainer, the musician who helped to transform church music into a national art form, is set to begin with a world premiere performance.
A week-long series of events has been arranged to coincide with the opening of the Stainer Exhibition in the Wolfson Gallery, Palace Green Library, Durham University.
The programme begins on Thursday 10 March 2011 with a first ever public performance of Sir John Stainer's Quartet in E minor, at the University Music School, Palace Green.
Sir John Stainer composed the classic hymn tune, Love Divine, commonly used in marriage services across the world, and his arrangements of Christmas Carols, such as God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen and Good King Wenceslas, remain firm favourites with carol singers all over the world.
His remarkable life in music tells the story of one of the most important English musicians of the Victorian era. Best known for his choral work, The Crucifixion, Stainer's many compositions and arrangements include some of the nation's best loved hymns, anthems and carols.
Sir John Stainer's world-famous music, together with historical documents, manuscripts, paintings, letters and photographs, have been donated to Durham University by his descendants and will be on show from 12 March to 8 May 2011, as part of the University Library's ‘Spotlight' series.
From humble origins, his musical talents were soon recognised and he rose to become organist of St Paul's Cathedral, Professor of Music at Oxford and the first Inspector for Music in schools and training colleges.
Professor Jeremy Dibble, Head of the Department of Music, Durham University, said: "Sir John Stainer's music is a highlight of major events throughout the church year. He was a highly regarded scholar and academic who reformed an archaic system of choirs and set new standards in church music.
"Congregations and choirs can be heard singing his tunes and arrangements at Easter, Christmas and Evensong, and at wedding ceremonies all over the world. The Crucifixion is still a highlight of many church services at Easter and his arrangements of carols such as The First Nowell are national treasures."
Professor Jeremy Dibble added: "He was pivotal in establishing the music degree at Durham University, becoming one of its first examiners and his achievements were recognised when the University conferred on him the degree of D.Mus. (Doctor of Music - 1885) and a DCL (Doctor of Civil Law), one of its highest honours, in 1895."
Drawing from the recently donated Stainer archive, the exhibition of manuscripts, letters, photographs and other artifacts celebrates the contribution that he made to the musical life of Victorian Britain and the legacy of his work in music today.
A new CD of the music of Sir John Stainer, featuring the Chapel Choirs of Durham University, has been produced by Durham University. Copies are available from Wednesday 10th March at www.durham.ac.uk/university.shop
Sir John Stainer was born in London, 6 June 1840 and died in Verona, 31 March 1901.
Web links: Spotlight exhibition: www.durham.ac.uk/library/asc/exhibitions
Sir John Stainer and the Department of Music: http://www.dur.ac.uk/music/stainer/
Programme of events:
Thursday 10th March, University Music School, Palace Green 1.10pm
Lunchtime Concert: The Brodowski Quartet will perform a programme of Sir John Stainer's Quartet in E minor (first public performance, edited by Jeremy Dibble) and Tchaikovsky's Quartet in D major Op. 11. Admission: £5 on the door - No advance tickets available. Please note: A pre-concert talk on Stainer's Quartet will be given by Professor Jeremy Dibble in the Music School at 11.30am
Saturday 12th March, Durham Cathedral 7.30pm
Concert: The Durham University Choral Society and Durham University Orchestral Society, conducted by James Lancelot, will perform Stainer's The Crucifixion and Schubert's Mass in A flat. Tickets: £15 and £10 (restricted view), Students and under 16: £5
Tuesday 15th March, University Music School, Palace Green 4.15pm
Public Lecture: 'Stainer and the Music of the Fifteenth Century'
Time: 16:15 to 17:45, in the Music School, Palace Green, Durham
This public lecture will be given by Professor David Fallows of Manchester University. Admission to the lecture is free and it is open to all.
Contact: Joyce Dent: Email: email@example.com
Wednesday 16th March, Durham Cathedral 7.30pm
Concert: The Choir of Magdalen College, Oxford directed by Daniel Hyde in a programme of English church music including works by Sheppard, Tomkins, Purcell, Goss, Stainer, Ouseley, Elgar and Harris Tickets: £15 & £10 Students: £5
Tickets available from the Tourist Information Centre, Millennium Place, Durham DH1 1WA Tel: (0191) 384 7641 Tickets will also be available on the door, by cash or cheque only, from 45 minutes before the start of the concert.
Evensongs of the music of Sir John Stainer
Monday 14th March, College of St. Hild & St. Bede, 6.00pm
Tuesday 15th March, Durham Cathedral, 5.15pm
Wednesday 16th March, St John's College, 5.30pm
Thursday 17th March, St Chad's College, 6.30pm
Sunday 20th March, St James the Great, Darlington
High Mass 10.00am Evensong 4.00pm
‘JOHN STAINER: A LIFE IN MUSIC'
An Exhibition in the Wolfson Gallery, Palace Green (as part of the Library's ‘Spotlight' series) 12 March to 8 May. Times: Tuesday - Friday 10am - 4.45pm Weekends 12pm -4.45pm
Admission: Adults - £3.00 Concessions & Children - £2.00
Family day ticket (2 adults, 2 children) - £8.00
Infants (under 5) - FreeHelper/carers - Free
Group rate - £2.50 per person based on 10 and above (only available on pre-booked groups) School visits - pupils - £2.00 - teachers/helpers - Free
Tickets can be bought from the Tourist Information Centre (for all individual concerts), in person, by post or by phone: Tourist Information Centre, Gala Theatre, Millennium Place, Durham, DH1 1WA (0191 384 7641). Opening hours: Monday - Saturday: 9:30 am - 5:30 pm; Sunday: 11:00am - 4:00 pm. By post, please enclose a SAE and cheque made payable to the Durham County Council. The following credit/debit cards are accepted: Visa, Delta, Mastercard, Switch.
Tickets are also available on the door, by cheque or cash only, from 45 minutes before the start of the concert. Please make cheques payable to 'Durham University'.