A Story of Cornwall
March 8: 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
A Story of Cornwall is a choral work commissioned by the Royal Institution of Cornwall (the Royal Cornwall Museum and the Courtney Library). We asked composer Nick Hart, a Bard of Cornwall, to use the objects in the museum to inspire him to tell the history of the civilisations in Cornwall. The work covers major themes: prehistory, early Christianity, folklore, rebellion, language, industry, diaspora and revival. Using music, itself a mark of civilisation, the piece explores aspects of Cornwall’s story and how people reacted to the land and how the land guided their path and shaped their growth.
A particularly exciting aspect of this concert is a sense of symbiosis between objects and music. As the choral work will be performed in the museum, the singers and the audience will be surrounded by the very objects which map the subject matter of the songs and music; the changing civilisations expressing the artistic, social and industrial history of Cornwall.
Below are a couple of insights into the performance and its messages:
Language: one of the pieces, The Lord’s Prayer, will be performed tri-lingually. The Lord’s Prayer, until the Reformation was said in Latin, although with the introduction of the Prayer Book in English in the Protestant regime of Edward VI, the text was translated into English. As many Cornish people did not speak English, this was an unpopular move and a major factor leading to the Prayer Book Rebellion by the Cornish in 1549. The song uses a Cornish version of the Lord’s prayer alongside the Latin and English, reflecting the struggle for mastery for regional and religious identity.
Industry: Mining obviously played an important part in Cornwall’s development and has shaped some of the music in the choral work. The concert includes a very percussive piece which reflects the sounds of the mines and working the metal that comes out of them.
The choir is made up of four voice parts: Soprano, Alto, Treble and Bass. Nick Harts choir, Canoryen Lowen (Cornish for the Merry Singers) has around forty members.