Friday 20 January 2023

Thursday Organ recital

We caught the train to Oxford to do a bit of shopping, watch an organ recital and have a nice pub lunch.

Surprisingly the shopping bit went well, and then we met up again to go to New College. We had different opinions as to how to get there, mine being to walk for four minutes along a straight road and Darren's being to retrace his steps to a road sign that he had just passed called New College Lane, and walk down that. 

We followed Darren's route along beautiful streets with ancient buildings for a while but did not find an entrance. 
We then passed a large 1960's style modern building and I guessed that we must have reached our destination. 

There was also no way in, so we carried on walking in a circle and ended up where my four minutes walk would have taken us to, although to be fair, it was a fabulous detour. 

We stopped at the gate for the porter (who wasn't wearing a bowler hat) to let us in, and point out the direction of the college Chapel. 

We were greeted at the door and shown into the building where we sat in the choir seats and waited for the organist to arrive. I don't even have the words to say how spectacular the Chapel was and it said no photos allowed, but when I checked our photos app, this one had mysteriously appeared to just give a taster of the building. 

The audience was very small, and it was all free, but the organist, Robert Quinney, was top class and had even played the organ at Westminster Abbey for the wedding of the Prince and Princess of Wales. 

We didn't recognise the music, which was all by J S Bach, but it was tuneful and very complicated, and ended with a good loud piece and a round of applause. Fortunately we weren't required to sing. 

On the way out we followed the crowd who seemed to know the way, and we wandered around the beautiful grounds before eventually leaving by the tiny door and back into the bustle of Oxford. 

Ps, I looked it up later, but New College was actually founded in 1379 and was the largest college at that time. Its buildings were innovative in design and was built around an enclosed quadrangle. This was the first of its type and has become one of the defining features of colleges across Oxford and Cambridge.

It was called New College to distinguish it from Oriel colleges that was built in 1326.

So my first estimate was only 700 years out. 

Pps, we have been told that other colleges also have organ recitals so hopefully we will be off to a few more over the spring and summer.

Ppps, the pub lunch was excellent too. 

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