Peace is often described as being beautiful and last Saturday we were immersed in a spectacular interpretation of that beauty. Though music, mellifluous and resounding throughout the Cathedral, it was an absolute joy to come together to experience the magic of Psalter: Themes for Peace under a cloud of doves. 

The suite was performed by a tremendously talented quartet who left the audience spellbound. On saxophones was the remarkable composer and Chaplain of Girton College, Cambridge, Tim Boniface.Throughout the evening, Tim performed with great gusto and encouraged the audience to interact with the music, either in the form of tapping toes or clapping after improvised solo’s. We were also joined by: James Pearson, acclaimed pianist and artistic director of the renowned Ronnie Scott’s, London, who gave a strikingly soulful and elegant performance; Malcolm Creese, founding member of the widely acclaimed Acoustic Triangle, played the double bass with warmth and subtlety; and Jon Ormston, whose flair and originality as a drummer was palpable and whose recording and performing career has previously taken in London Jazz Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony and many others. Peppered throughout the suite were the readings of six diverse lines from Book of Psalms, which were given by Dr Hilary Marlow, our Canon Environmentalist and Vice-Mistress of Girton College.

The effervescence of the six-part suite itself radiated through the crowds and, by the interval, conversations were being shared around the importance of the arts – from Peter Walker Sculptor’s Peace Doves installation, to the jazz of Psalter: Themes for Peace. Combined in their evocation of creativity, spontaneity and spirituality in an ecclesiastical space, these arts had sparked reflections on peace more widely . Indeed, both artforms were in dialogue with one another throughout the evening; as the musicians played on, all could see how the paper doves, carrying thoughts and prayers on their wings, were in flight above, swaying and rustling from the movement of pieces.

- Isabelle Lepore, Acting Adult Learning Officer