Listen to the trail here

This Worcester Sounds Trail is developed in partnership between Worcester BID and Three Choirs Festival. 

The Three Choirs Festival is a week-long programme of world-class music-making, featuring choral and orchestral concerts, solo and chamber music recitals, talks, cathedral services, theatre, exhibitions, and walks, rotating each summer between the beautiful English cathedral cities of Gloucester, Hereford, and Worcester. This year we are lucky to have the festival in Worcester.

To celebrate we are hosting a musical trail with musical highlights that you can hear at the Festival which will take place in the city between July 27 and August 3.

When you find a board, scan the code to listen to some great music that will transport you straight to the festival. You can find some interesting extra information by each trail shield, or catch up below.

1️⃣Gustav Holst / The Cloud Messenger

🎵You are now listening to Gustav Holst, The Cloud Messenger

Gustav Holst was born in Cheltenham in 1874. He enjoyed writing music from when he was a boy, and his first big success as a composer came when he was just 18 years old. Nowadays he is best known for his musical work, The Planets, inspired by his love of astrology and horoscopes.

Composer Gustav Holst was fascinated by Indian culture, stories and language, and his piece The Cloud Messenger tells the story of a nature spirit who asks a cloud to take a message to his wife in the Himalayan Mountains. It is full of rich, colourful music – does it make you imagine being in a different country?

 

2️⃣Charles Villiers Stanford / The Blue Bird

🎵You are now listening to Charles Villiers Stanford, The Blue Bird

Charles Villiers Stanford was born in Ireland in 1852. His father wanted him to become a lawyer, but Stanford’s love of music made him determined to succeed as a musician and he became one of the most popular composers of his time. He made a lasting impact on British music by teaching and helping many young people who would become future great composers themselves.

The Blue Bird by Irish composer Charles Stanford is a beautiful song which sets the words of a poem by Mary Coleridge to music. It is written to be sung by a small group of singers using different voice parts. Listen out for the top voice part – the soprano – singing the word ‘blue’ over the top of the rest of the choir.

 

3️⃣Edward Elgar / Serenade for Strings

🎵You are now listening to Edward Elgar, Serenade for Strings

Edward Elgar was born in Lower Broadheath in 1857. He came from an ordinary family without much money, but by the end of his life he had been knighted, appointed Master of the King’s Musick, and is now thought of as one of the greatest ever English composers. His music is much loved and is often played at important events and featured in films.

Edward Elgar’s Serenade for Strings was written before he was famous, but it is often performed at concerts and is very popular. It was Elgar’s favourite piece from everything that he wrote. Listen out for the romantic violin tune singing out over the top of the gentle music from the other string instruments.

 

4️⃣Judith Weir / The Song Sung True

🎵You are now listening to Judith Weir, The Song Sung True

Judith Weir was born in Cambridge in 1954. She studied music, and then went on to teach at several different universities, as well as writing music for many famous choirs and orchestras. She is Master of the King’s Music and wrote pieces for King Charles’ coronation in 2023, as well as for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.

O Sweet Spontaneous Earth by Judith Weir sets the words of three poems to music, describing what it feels like to live on our planet, like the Earth bringing forth new life every spring and the stars shining in the sky above us while we sleep. There isn’t a recording, so here is one of Judith’s other pieces to give you an idea of what her music sounds like.

 

5️⃣Sarah Nicholls / Skim II

🎵 You are now listening to Sarah Nicholls, Skim II

Sarah Nicholls plays the piano and writes her own music. She invented her piano herself and it is very different to a normal piano. It is 2.5m tall and inside out! This means that Sarah can use the strings and the inside of the piano to make music, as well as pressing the keys.

This piece by Sarah Nicholls, Skim II, is played on Sarah’s inside out piano!  Listen out for what sounds different to a normal piano in her calming, peaceful music.

 

6️⃣Bob Chilcott / The Angry Planet

🎵You are now listening to Bob Chilcott, The Angry Planet

Bob Chilcott was born in Plymouth in 1955 and has loved music since he was a little boy when he sang in the famous choir of King’s College, Cambridge. He works as a full-time composer and conductor, writing music that has been performed worldwide. He is particularly good at writing great music for children to sing.

Bob Chilcott’s piece, The Angry Planet, uses animals’ voices to tell us how humans hurt our world and how we need to love and care for our environment. In this part of the piece, an otter sings about swimming in a river, rolling and rippling through the water. Listen to the joy and flashes of light shown in the music.

 

7️⃣Cameron Biles-Liddell / Yr Afon Yn Awyr

🎵You are now listening to Cameron Biles-Liddell, Yr Afon Yn Awyr

Cameron Biles-Liddell plays the piano and writes his own music. He was inspired to become a musician by his Grandad who used to be an opera singer in London. Cameron loves Wales, the place where he lives, and tries to paint pictures of nature and the Welsh countryside in much of the music that he writes.

Cameron Biles-Liddell’s piece Yr Afon Yn Awyr – The River in the Sky – is a musical picture of the water in the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in Wales, where the canal flows over the top of the River Dee. Listen out for the splashing of the water as it flows over the aqueduct and on through Wales and beyond.

 

8️⃣Hans Zimmer / Interstellar

🎵You are now listening to Hans Zimmer, Interstellar

Hans Zimmer was born in Germany in 1957. He writes music for films and is one of Hollywood’s most successful composers, winning an Oscar for the music he wrote for Disney’s film, The Lion King. Hans never enjoyed music lessons when he was growing up so taught himself how to play, but says that he could always hear music in his head.

The incredible music for the hit film Interstellar was written by Hans Zimmer, who thinks of it as one of the best pieces he has ever written. In this thrilling clip, you can hear the organ playing. The intense, epic music builds suspense and keeps you on the edge of your seat as you listen.

 

9️⃣Paul Mealor / Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal

🎵You are now listening to Paul Mealor, Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal

Paul Mealor was born in 1975 in Wales and now teaches young people at University how to write music. His music first became famous when he wrote a piece performed at Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding, and he has since written pieces performed at King Charles’ Coronation in 2023.

Ringed with the Azure World (Four Madrigals on Birds) is a piece which composer Paul Mealor has written for this year’s Three Choirs Festival and will be performed for the first time in Worcester Cathedral this summer. It sets the words of four poems describing an eagle, a swan, a nightingale and a bluebird. There isn’t a recording of this piece yet as it is brand new, but here is one of Paul’s other pieces to give you an idea of what his music sounds like, Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal.

 

🔟Nathan James Dearden / Moral and Interludes

🎵You are now listening to Nathan James Dearden, Moral and Interludes

Nathan James Dearden was born in 1992 in Wales, he composes his own music, as well as conducting choirs like the National Youth Choir of Wales. His music has been performed by many famous choirs and orchestras in this country and all over the world, in concerts and on the radio.

Messages is a piece which composer Nathan James Dearden has written for this year’s Three Choirs Festival. It sets the words of a series of messages from throughout history. There isn’t a recording of this piece yet as it is brand new, but here is one of Nathan’s other pieces to give you an idea of what his music sounds like.

 

1️⃣1️⃣Francesco Scarlatti / Kyrie

🎵You are now listening to Francesco Scarlatti, Kyrie

Composer Francesco Scarlatti was born in Sicily in 1666. Both his younger brother and his nephew also wrote music. He played the violin in the royal court in Naples and later travelled around Europe, living in both London and Dublin, where he probably worked in orchestras playing music in theatres.

Composer Francesco Scarlatti’s beautiful composition, Kyrie, is very unusual as it was written for 16 different voice parts to sing all at once, which is a lot more voices than most pieces are written for! How many of the different voice parts can you count as you listen?

 

1️⃣2️⃣Sarah Kirkland Snider / Sanctus

🎵You are now listening to Sarah Kirkland Snider, Mass for the Endangered

Sarah Kirkland Snider was born in America in 1973. Her family weren’t musical, and when she was little she used to knock on the doors of her neighbours’ houses and ask to play their pianos as she didn’t have one. She worked as a lawyer before deciding to write music full-time instead.

Sarah Kirkland Snider’s Mass for the Endangered is written as a prayer for endangered animals and their under-threat habitats. The beautiful music asks us to take care of the world we share with so many other animals. Listen out for the rippling sound of the harp underneath the voices singing.

 

1️⃣3️⃣Cecilia McDowall / Shipping Forecast

🎵You are now listening to Cecilia McDowall, The Shipping Forecast 

Cecilia McDowall was born in London in 1951. She writes her own music,  performed by many famous choirs and orchestras in this country and all over the world in both concerts and on the radio. She has been asked to write special pieces of music by many different people and organisations, including the Scott Polar Research Institute.

Shipping Forecast by composer Cecilia McDowall is a piece of music all about the sea, setting the words of poems and also snippets from the shipping forecast itself. This clip from the piece is very energetic and lively – you can hear how the music is always moving on, constantly in motion like the sea.

 

1️⃣4️⃣Michael Tippett / String Quartet No 2

🎵You are now listening to Michael Tippett, String Quartet No 2

Michael Tippett was born in 1905 and his music became well-known after the Second World War – he was a pacifist and was imprisoned for two months because he wouldn’t fight. His music became popular both in this country and in America, and he was influenced by jazz and blues as well as other classical music.

This string quartet by composer Michael Tippett is known for its lively, dancing rhythms, as well as its spiky tunes. It was written for two violins, a viola and a cello – can you pick out the different instruments when you listen?

 

1️⃣5️⃣Ralph Vaughan Williams / Prelude ‘49th Parallel’

🎵You are now listening to Ralph Vaughan Williams, Prelude ‘49th Parallel 

Composer Ralph Vaughan Williams was born in Gloucestershire in 1872. When he was little he learned to play the piano and the violin and loved English folk songs, which he collected and wrote down. Many people think that his pieces have a very ‘English’ sound because of these traditional tunes shining through his music. He wrote many famous, well-loved works, such as The Lark Ascending.

Prelude ‘49th Parallel’ was written by composer Ralph Vaughan Williams as music for a wartime film, 49th Parallel, about a German U-boat crew stranded in Canada. This piece is performed by a brass band, it sounds sad, yet full and warm.