News: Musical Treasures of Durham Cathedral

Music has always been at the heart of worship at Durham Cathedral and an upcoming event in the stunning surroundings of the Cathedral’s Refectory Library includes an opportunity to see a unique piece of medieval manuscript music first-hand.

The Treasures of Durham Cathedral Library: Music event on Saturday 4 February will see a range of manuscript and early printed music go on display, including seventeenth-century part-books used by the choir in Durham Cathedral, a letter and autographed piece of music written by the composer Franz Liszt (1811-1886), and a rare piece of Durham’s medieval polyphony, the Kyrie Cuthberte.

The Kyrie Cuthberte survives as a flyleaf fragment, bound into a manuscript containing several later theological texts. It is a Kyrie trope for three voices and is thought to have been written for the feasts of St Cuthbert. It was copied in c.1400, but probably composed earlier. The feast of St Cuthbert continues to be celebrated at Durham Cathedral in March every year.

Durham Cathedral’s Head of Collections, Lisa Di Tommaso, said: “It is a pleasure to be able to share such a magnificent piece with visitors to the Cathedral. The Kyrie Cuthberte, the earliest surviving Durham composition, shows that music has been an integral part of Cathedral life for centuries. We hope that these sessions give visitors a great understanding of the changing role of music throughout the Cathedral’s existence.”

Visitors are welcome between 2.00pm – 3.00pm and 3.30pm – 4.30pm and tickets can either be purchased in advance from the Durham Cathedral Visitor Desk, or at the door upon arrival at the Refectory Library. Admission is £5 per person or £4.50 concessions. Please contact for further information.

Added Friday 27th January 2017