“Compline: A contemplative journey through Lent” in St Martin’s Church

Service-cum-performance of plainchant and polyphony
St Martin’s Church, Exeter
8pm on 11 18 25 March 1 8 April 2019

The ancient close-of-the-day service of Compline, with plainchant and polyphony. Hosted by Margaret Aagesen Hughes (Soprano) and Clare Bryden (Alto), featuring musicians Ruth Molins, Sophie Brewer (Flute), Emma Welton (Violin), Catherine Bradley (Cello).

Lent is the period of 40 days, excluding Sundays, which comes before Easter in the Christian calendar. Beginning on Ash Wednesday, Lent is a season of reflection and preparation before the celebrations of Easter.

By observing the 40 days of Lent, Christians draw a parallel with both Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and withdrawal into the desert for 40 days at the beginning of his ministry, and the Israelites’ journey of 40 years to the Promised Land as told in the book of Exodus.

Lent is often marked by fasting, both from food and festivities. Many Christians in the Church of England may also take up something for Lent, such as praying daily or giving more to charity. The underlying purpose is to draw closer to God.

Compline is the last service in the monastic daily cycle of prayer. Its English name comes from the Latin for completion, as it completes the working day. It is also known as Night Prayer, the prayer before sleep.

This short service of Compline remained broadly similar week by week, with additional music that changed to accompany our journey together through Lent. There were opportunities for reflection through the simplicity of the setting, the beauty of the music, and the periods of silence.

The service was cohosted by the Churches Conservation Trust, which looks after St Martin’s.

Programme

11 March

Solo: “The Crucifixion” from “The Hermit Songs” by Samuel Barber
Margaret Aagesen Hughes soprano
Ruth Molins flute
Catherine Bradley cello

Antiphon: “Ave Regina Coelorum”
Clare Bryden alto

Instrumental Voluntary: “Song 2” by Anastassis Philippakopoulos
Ruth Molins bass flute

18 March

Solo: “Blute nur” from the “St Matthew Passion” by JS Bach
Margaret Aagesen Hughes soprano
Ruth Molins flute
Sophie Brewer flute

Antiphon: “Ave Regina Coelorum”
Clare Bryden alto

Instrumental Voluntary: two duets by Francis Chagrin
Ruth Molins flute
Sophie Brewer flute

25 March

Feast of the Annunciation of our Lord

Duet: “Ave Maria” by Camille Saint-Saëns
Margaret Aagesen Hughes soprano
Clare Bryden alto
Emma Welton violin

Antiphon: “Alma Redemptoris”
Margaret Aagesen Hughes soprano

Instrumental Voluntary: “Allemanda” from “Partita no. 2” by JS Bach
Emma Welton violin

1 April

Solo: “Ebarme dich” from the “St Matthew Passion” by JS Bach
Clare Bryden alto
Emma Welton violin
Catherine Bradley Cello

Antiphon: “Ave Regina Coelorum”
Margaret Aagesen Hughes soprano

Instrumental Voluntary: “Népdalféle (Im Volkston)” and “Doloroso (Garzulyéknak)” from “Signs, Games and Messages” by Kurtág György
Emma Welton violin

8 April

Passiontide

Duet: tbc
Margaret Aagesen Hughes soprano
Clare Bryden alto
Catherine Bradley cello

Antiphon: “Ave Regina Coelorum”
Clare Bryden alto

Instrumental Voluntary: tbc
Catherine Bradley cello

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