The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra are currently engaged in a couple of days work in Chester Cathedral playing a little Elgar and Vaughan Williams for the Chester Festival. We have appeared at this lovely event many times over the years. Tonight was our rehearsal with the choir, with James Burton conducting.
The precise repertoire on offer is: Elgar ‘The Spirit Of England’ and ‘Sospiri’; the ‘National Anthem’ by Britten (my favourite arrangement, actually!) and the second half will concern itself with the poignant ‘Dona Nobis Pacem’ by Ralph Vaughan Williams.
Of course, Gerald Grosvenor, the current Duke of Westminster, is the UK’s largest landowner and his family seat is in Cheshire. Not only that, Gerald’s predecessors have presided over Chester since coming over from Normandy with William The Conqueror. He sits at the head of an estate that has developed since then, dwarfing even that of Queen Elizabeth The Second! The Grosvenors were installed in Chester to defend England against the Welsh and to this day it is apparently legal to shoot a Welshman, after dark, with a longbow!