Bristol Cathedral Choir to premiere Three Masts

09th June 2022

Bristol Cathedral Choir will finally premiere Three Masts, a new piece of music specially written for Trinity Sunday that has been postponed since 2020 due to the Covid pandemic.

New work to be premiered by Bristol Cathedral Choir this Trinity Sunday

The music was composed by Richard Barnard, a renowned Bristol-based composer, and is a new setting for the poem of the same name by 20th century Cornish poet Charles Causeley.

The Three Masts represents the Holy Trinity, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  The piece was commissioned by Bristol Cathedral thanks to funding from the Friends of Bristol Cathedral. It was due to be premiered in 2020.

Mark Lee, Director of Music at Bristol Cathedral said:

‘When Richard first came to see me and enquire about the possibility of composing a new piece for the Choir, I could see a real opportunity to provide a valuable new work for one of Bristol Cathedral’s most important festivals – our Feast of Title, Trinity Sunday. Discussion with Richard revealed his fondness for a little-known poem of Charles Causeley, Three Masts, which draws comparison between the three phases of the life of Jesus, from birth to crucifixion, the Holy Trinity, and a three masted ship, with the tripartite elements working as one whole.

After a delay of two years due to the pandemic, with the work’s first performance being shelved twice we are delighted and excited to be presenting it this Sunday at the Cathedral Eucharist,’ he added.

Three Masts to be premiered by Bristol Cathedral Choir

Richard Barnard, composter of Three Masts, said:

“I’m very excited for this piece to set sail as part of the Trinity Sunday service. Originally commissioned for 2020 it will be even more special to finally hear it resound in the cathedral’s beautiful echoing acoustic! In a separate project, I have been working with the choristers at the Cathedral School on their own compositions this term, so it is lovely to share my music with them too. The words are by Cornish poet Charles Causley. He used his experience in the navy to inspire a poem which cleverly transforms the three masts of a ship into “Father, Son and Holy Ghost: Blessed Trinity”.

The Three Masts will be premiered by Bristol Cathedral Choir, conducted by Mark Lee on Sunday 12thJune 2022 at Bristol Cathedral at the Eucharist at 10.00am. All are welcome.