Music inspired by the Priory Church, Bridlington
BackgroundAlbert Ketelbey (1875 – 1959) was a very popular composer particularly during the 1910 to 1935 period. Born in Birmingham, at the age of eleven he wrote a piano sonata that won praise from Edward Elgar. Ketèlbey gained a scholarship to the Trinity College of Music in London. Two of his better known works are “In a Monastery Garden” and “Bells across the Meadow”. Indeed, “In a Monastery Garden” was his first big hit (at the age of 40) and made his name. Both, it is believed, were inspired by a visit to the Bridlington Priory church. See the reference below. There are many recorded versions of this music, including a whistled version of “In a Monastery Garden” by Ronny Renald.
This account is included in the article In a Monastery Garden, by Albert W. Ketèlbey, in Music Masterpieces, Part 12, 18 March 1926, page 183: It is highly necessary to feel what one writes, and also to have the right kind of inspiration. When I was writing In a Monastery Garden, one of my most popular compositions, I was for the time being an imaginary monk, and as in my earlier days I had had certain ascetic inclinations it was not difficult to get myself into a suitable frame of mind. The first inspiration to write the piece came to me during a visit to Scarborough. I happened to drive over to Bridlington one day, and on the way I visited a beautiful old monastery. Its quietude and its aloofness from the gaiety of the world at its doors seemed to cry aloud for expression through the medium of the orchestra. I had an idea, and when I returned home I set to work to draw a musical picture of the scene as it had impressed itself upon my mind – the chanting of the monks, the serenity and calm of the landscape, and the emotional aspect generally. I have always thought it a great compliment that many clergymen have asked me to allow them to incorporate the “chant” section of the piece into their church services.
- Research visits by other musicians to Bridlington to play for the holiday makers.
- Play recordings of the music.
- School ensemble plays the music.