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Musical Evening with the Madding Crowd at Pilgrims' Hall

The Pilgrims’ Hall, Pilgrims’ School, 3 The Close, Winchester, Hampshire SO23 9LT

For this concert, the Madding Crowd are developing a new programme focusing on the kind of People Power seen in earlier days in the English countryside. The church choirs were often in conflict (sometimes in open rebellion) with the clergy and there was friction between various religious sects, particularly between the Non-Conformists and the Church of England. The rural way of life in southern and eastern England was increasingly threatened by agricultural mechanisation and harsh conditions, leading to the Swing Riots. Our concert will reflect these times.

The Madding Crowd research and perform village music of the period 1650-1850, as described in Thomas Hardy’s ‘Under the Greenwood Tree’. Each village had its own band, which played not only for church services, but also social events. They were normally situated in the west gallery of the church and had something of a reputation for unruliness. West Gallery music began after the Puritans destroyed most of the organs in country churches. It has the feeling rather of folk music and is written mostly in four part harmony. Much of the music is quite unknown today, partly as a result of its deliberate suppression by the Oxford Movement in the late 19th century.

  • Saturday 21 September 1930-2130

Last year’s concert was almost fully booked and so we strongly recommend booking in advance to ensure a seat!

2 hours including a 20 minute interval.