Review of 2017: arts

by
21 December 2017

Chichester Cathedral

Christ the King: the 13th-century silver Coombes Crucifix, recovered four years after it was stolen from Coombes Parish Church in 2012, and now on display in Chichester Cathedral Treasury

Christ the King: the 13th-century silver Coombes Crucifix, recovered four years after it was stolen from Coombes Parish Church in 2012, and now on dis...

THERE were some fine exhibitions during the year. Among those noted by the Church Times were Hans Feibusch (Pallant House, Chichester); “Sussex Modernism” (Two Temple Place, London); “Australian Impressionists” and “Giovanni da Rimini” (National Gallery); “Madonnas and Miracles” (Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge); “Artemisia Gentileschi and Her Time (Museo di Roma); Maiolica (Sam Fogg, London); John Constable (Brighton Museum); “Russian Revolution” (British Library); “Viking” (Yorkshire Museum); Eric Gill (Ditchling Museum); “Raphael: The Drawings” “Living with Gods” (British Museum); “Imagining the Divine” (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford); Polish émigré art (Ben Uri Museum, London); “The Encounter: Drawings from Leonardo to Rembrandt” (National Portrait Gallery); “Rembrandt: Lightening the Darkness” (Norwich Castle); “El Greco to Goya” (Wallace Collection, London); Tove Jansson (Moomins) (Dulwich Picture Gallery, London).

Among those held in churches were “Beasts!”, “Magna Carta and the Forest Charters”, and (permanent) “The Treasures of St Cuthbert” (Durham Cathedral); the All Saints’ Sisters’ needlework (St Mark’s, Regents Park); “Crucifixions: Francis Bacon” (St Stephen Walbrook); and Turner (Lichfield Cathedral).

Among contemporaries whose work was shown were Roger Hiorns (Ikon, Birmingham); Mark Cazalet (St Edmundsbury Cathedral); Samuel Yall (La Madeleine, Paris); Anthony Head (Bath Abbey); Cristina Rodrigues (Manchester Cathedral); Pablo Genovés and Paul Wallinger (St Paul’s Cathedral); Jonathan Sainsbury (St Andrew’s Cathedral, Inverness); Jean Lamb and Frieda Hughes (Chichester Cathedral); Grayson Perry (Serpentine); Stretch (Sophia Clist with Nick Burge, Exeter Cathedral); David James (photography, Worcester Cathedral); the late Margaret K. Wright (church needlework, St John’s, Piddington); Ana Maria Pacheco (Salisbury); and with light installations, Pablo Valbuena (Durham Cathedral) and Shuster and Moseley (St Oswald’s, Durham).

Collective exhibitions of contemporary or community art in churches included “Auguri” at the Basilica di Santa Sabina, Rome; “40 Days, 40 Artists (St Michael’s, Discoed); children’s art of crucifixion and resurrection (Frodsham Parish Church); “Family Tree” (Portsmouth Cathedral); Year of the Bible (Chichester diocese); “Ark” (Chester Cathedral); The Great Community Mural and Chelsea College of Art alumni (St Paul’s Cathedral); and Grayson Perry and others (Hereford Cathedral).

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New work in churches included a ring of bells for Southwark Cathedral; a plaque in memory of the musician J. B. Dykes (St Catharine’s College, Cambridge); an SAS memorial window, Ascension, by John Maine (Hereford Cathedral); the Coventry Dresden Cope by Terry Duffy (Coventry Cathedral); Andrew the Fisherman (St Andrew’s, Plymouth); Mary — Origin and Destination by Giacomo Bufarini, aka RUN (St John with St Andrew, Peckham); a war-memorial window for St Matthew’s, Birches Head; The Eternal Engine reredos (St Francis at the Engine Room, Tottenham); and murals by Xavier Egana in St Michael’s, Antezana de la Foronda, Spain.

Chichester Cathedral treasury displayed the 13th-century Coombes crucifix, now on long-term loan. An Italian School Head of Christ sold at auction in Dublin for an unexpected €120,000; and The Judgement of Solomon by Matthias Stomer, sold for £428,750 at Sotheby’s, London. St Anne’s, Oldland, was permitted to make a long-term loan of Murillo’s Ecce Homo to Bristol Museum.

Films noted in the Church Times included Silence, Hacksaw Ridge, The Student, Bitter Harvest, Sweet Dreams, A Quiet Passion, City of Tiny Lights, A Dark Song, Rules Don’t Apply, The Promise, Lady Macbeth, Whisky Galore (a remake), The Secret Scripture, The Shack, Destiny, Whitney, Summer in the Forest, Stockholm, My Love, Hotel Salvation, The Case for Christ, The Forgiven, 78/52, Brimstone, Jungle, I Am Not a Witch, Breathe, Libera Nos (Deliver Us), Bill Viola: The road to St Paul’s, Menashe, Zuzana, and The Man who Invented Christmas

DVD releases of interest included Pioneers of African-American Cinema (BFI), The Almodovar Collection (StudioCanal), A Man for All Seasons (Eureka Video); and Three Films By Ken Loach (BFI);

Live drama included The Convert by Danai Gurira (Gate Theatre); Shakespeare’s Henry V (touring cathedrals); Susan Lofthus’s prison work for Cutting Edge Theatre; the Kynren pageant (Auckland Castle); James Cary’s A Monk’s Tale, STAG’s God Ltd, Richard Marsh’s Todd & God, Ontroerend Goed’s £¥€$, David Banbury’s Home Front/Front Line, and Glenn Chandler’s Lord Dismiss Us (based on Michael Campbell’s novel) (Edinburgh Fringe); Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape (Edinburgh Festival); and Jesus in the Park (Havant Park).

Live comedy included Tony Vino’s The Clean (As Possible) Comedy Show. Musical theatre included Perpetual: A sonic opera by by James Shearman (The Bunker, Southwark) and Herod’s Killing of the Children (Frideswide Voices, New College Players, Oxford).

New music included The Eight Words by Tim Boniface (CD); Patrick Hawes, Revelation and Beatitudes (CD); Mystical Sacrifice by Djuro Zivkovic and Nasimi-Passion by Franghiz Ali-Zadeh (Concertgebouw, Amsterdam); new anthems by Michael Finnissy (St John’s College, Cambridge); John Featherstone’s Te Deum (St Nicholas’s, Sevenoaks); James MacMillan’s Blow the Trumpet in the New Moon (Bach Choir, Royal Festival Hall), and A European Requiem (European première), Deep Time by Sir Harrison Birtwistle, and In the Land of Uz by Judith Weir (BBC Proms); Miriam Mackie’s Modern Times: the life and death of Simone Weil; Philip Wilby’s The Holy Face (Halifax Choral Society); and a new orchestration by Torsten Rasch of his A Welsh Night (Three Choirs, Worcester).

There were also premieres of the St. Luke Passion by Cecil Armstrong Gibbs (Derby Cathedral) and works by Ralph Vaughan Williams and Montague Phillips (English Music Festival, Dorchester Abbey).

Anglican Choral Evensong was sung in St Peter’s, Rome, for the first time by the choir of Merton College, Oxford; and there was a global sing, 150 Psalms.

Among welcome revivals of older repertoire were those of various works by Biber (Newbury Chamber Choir); Samuel Wesley’s Confitebor Tibi, Domine (Portsmouth Choral Union, St Mary’s, Portsea); pieces by Heinrich Schütz (various venues); Stainer’s The Daughter of Jairus (Guilsford Singers, Welshpool Town Hall); Mendelssohn’s Lauda Sion (Bedford Choral Society); Bruckner’s First Mass in D minor (Felsted Choral Society); Beethoven, Mozart, and Haydn (Ware Choral Society); Holst’s Hymn of Jesus (Tewkesbury Choral Society, Tewkesbury Abbey); Palestrina and Poulenc (The Sixteen’s Choral Pilgrimage); Buxtehude’s Membra Jesu Nostri (Southwell Cathedral Festival); “A Patchwork Passion” devised by John Butt, illustrating the history of the genre, and Martinu’s Field Mass (BBC Proms); Shostakovich’s 12th Symphony, The Year 1917, William Lloyd Webber’s tone poem Aurora, Leoš Janácek’s Glagolitic Mass, and Jonathan Dove’s There Was a Child (Three Choirs, Worcester).

Avant-garde music was successfully tackled by the National Youth Choir of Great Britain at Trinity College, Cambridge); the organ of Peterborough Cathedral was updated (Harrison & Harrison); and there was a varied arts programme at the Greenbelt Festival (Northamptonshire).

Forthcoming Events

16-18 February 2018
Church Times Festival of Faith & Literature

Our literary festival with a theological slant in Bloxham, Oxfordshire. Speakers include Francis Spufford, Ruth Valerio, Eve Poole, Mark Oakley, James Runcie and many others. Find out more

5-6 May 2018
Church Times Festival of Poetry
With Sarum College, Salisbury. More details coming soon - register your interest here

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