Musical premiere to celebrate the Lindisfarne Gospels

Holy Island is hosting the first ever performance of a new musical composition to celebrate the creation of the Lindisfarne Gospels on the island 1300 years ago.

The work, created by Paul Edis and the Ushaw Ensemble, will be performed in concert at St Mary’s Church, Holy Island, on Friday 30 September. The evening concert starts at 7.30pm is open to the public and entry is free.

Paul Edis and the Ushaw Ensemble

Paul Edis and his group will also be working with pupils at Lowick and Holy Island Church of England First Schools in the morning before performing a special schools-only concert in the afternoon at St Marys.

St Mary’s Church has commissioned the music as part of the ‘The Art of Words 2022’ festival to celebrate the Lindisfarne Gospels and their creator Eadfrith. The celebrations are supported by the Handley Trust and Allchurches Trust.

Composer, Paul Edis, said: “We are very excited about giving the world premiere of ‘The Lindisfarne Gospels’ on the beautiful island of Holy Island, where Eadfrith created the Lindisfarne Gospels so long ago!

“This 9 part suite of new music includes movements inspired by the Evangelists and the intricate illustrations within the Gospels side by side with movements inspired by Aldred the Scribe, the tides around the island and the passing of time. The music celebrates the beauty and history of the artefact itself, but also the living tradition of worship centred around the community and the island". 

“Working with pupils from the local schools on new music inspired by the Gospels and Holy Island itself also means a great deal. The aim is to get everyone involved, thinking creatively and making music together from scratch!”

Friday 30 September:

  • Morning workshops and afternoon concert for schools.
  • Evening concert: 7.30pm: Paul Edis and the Ushaw Ensemble: part one: a mix of repertoire, part two: original composition and St. Cuthbert Suite. 

Revd Canon Dr Sarah Hills, Vicar of St Mary’s, Holy Island, said: “We are very pleased to have been able to commission this new work based on the Lindisfarne Gospels. I can’t wait to hear it on Friday!”

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