Cathedral Voice

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February 7, 2023

Update from the Chapel Royal Hampton Court Palace

Read the latest news from Cathedral Music Trust

The Chapel Royal,  the itinerant body of priest and singers who serve the spiritual needs of the sovereign, has been central to the Anglican choral tradition since the 16th century. William Byrd and Thomas Tallis were Gentlemen of the Chapel, as was Henry Purcell in the 17th century. Today the Chapel Royal at Hampton Court Palace remains an active place of worship and music, our choir comprising 16 boy choristers and 6 professional Gentlemen.

Hampton Court Palace and Christ Church Cathedral Oxford are both foundations of Cardinal Wolsey, and in 2022 – for the first time in many centuries – we held two joint events to celebrate our shared history and musical tradition. Set around fine choral music sung by the choirs under their directors, Prof Steven Grahl and Carl Jackson, we enjoyed a Choral Evensong in the Cathedral including Taverner’s monumental Dum Transisset Sabattum and settings by Bernard Rose and Stanford. At The Chapel Royal on St Cecilia’s Day we were treated to an instrumental and choral concert of music by Henry Purcell including his setting of Psalm 96 ‘O Sing Unto The Lord’. We also enjoyed seeing some of the history of each place not generally on show to the public, including the spectacular King’s Guard Chamber at Hampton Court and manuscripts in the College Hall at Christ Church.

The Chapel is supported by a Choral Foundation which works to preserve and promote the unique heritage of English choral music at Hampton Court. The Foundation supports a number of scholarships and bursaries for the choristers and organists, as well as giving an annual grant.

Autumn 2022 saw our annual ‘Chorister for the Day’ event which yielded a number of potential new choristers. We also launched our ‘Songstars’ outreach project which is taking singing into state primary schools in Hounslow. We are very grateful that the first year has been funded by the Cathedral Music Trust. The first year runs until June, when the boys and girls, together with our choristers, will give a concert in the Chapel Royal.

 

Thank you to Christ Church Oxford for the photograph of the choirs singing together.