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Etheldreda, a Saxon princess, was born c.630 at Exning near Newmarket. She was married twice: in 652 to Tonbert, a local prince, who gave her the Isle of Ely as a dowry, and in 665 to Egfrid, Prince (and later King) of Northumbria; despite these marriages Etheldreda retained her virginity.
In 672 she left her husband to become a nun in the Monastery at Coldingham, near Berwick. On hearing that Egfrid was coming to take her back, Etheldreda fled to the Isle of Ely, where she took refuge. In 673 she founded there a double monastery (for both men and women) and was installed as first Abbess by Wilfrid, Archbishop of York.
Sebastian Forbes specially-commissioned work was the starting point for this recording. The special flavor of a festival evensong at Ely, the need for contrast to offset the challenge of Forbes music, the opportunity to concentrate on musicians associated with Ely, and a desire to capture the essential quality of worship (albeit omitting the spoken word) were the other ingredients.
|1||04:23||Organ: Evocation (Salve Regina)||Michael Howard|
|2||07:01||Introit: Hymn to St Etheldreda (Part 1)||Sebastian Forbes|
|4||03:51||Psalm 84||Edward Bairstow|
|5||02:40||Psalm 122||Gerald Knight|
|6||01:53||Psalm 150||George Talbot|
|7||03:04||Ely Sequence||Trad. Ely Use|
|8||04:57||Magnificat in A flat||Basil Harwood|
|9||02:21||Nunc dimittis in A flat||Basil Harwood|
|11||14:15||Anthem: Hymn to St Etheldreda (Part 2)||Sebastian Forbes|
|12||03:10||Hymn: On this day (Tune: Etheldreda)||Arthur Wills|
|13||05:57||Te Deum in A flat||Basil Harwood|
|14||06:23||Organ: Tongues of Fire||Arthur Wills|