Map of Cambridge 1575

History of Cambridge

Over the coming months there will be four blog posts for each city on the Davis High School Baroque Ensemble’s 2020 England-France Tour tour: Place of Interest; Concert Venue; Music; History of the city. This week’s post, the eighth of the series, is on the history of Cambridge.


Map of Cambridge 1575

Map of Cambridge, 1575

The second concert of the DHSBE tour will take place in Trinity College Chapel, University of Cambridge.

What was to become the city of Cambridge  became an important trading centre during the Roman and Viking ages, and there is archaeological evidence of settlement in the area as early as the Bronze Age. The first town Charter was granted in the 12th century.

Cambridge is located on the River Cam approximately 50 miles north of London. The city is located in an area of level and relatively low-lying terrain just south of  the Fens which varies between only 20 – 79 ft above sea level.The town was thus historically surrounded by low lying wetlands that have been drained as the town has expanded. The University of Cambridge, of which Trinity College is part, was founded in 1209, and now consists of 31 colleges.

Cambridge aerial view

Aerial view of modern Cambridge

Cambridge University famous alumni/alumna include: Monty Python members: Eric Idle, Graham Chapman, & John Cleese; Olivia Colman (The Favorite, & Fleabag), Julian Fellows (Downton Abbey), Stephen Fry (Jeeves & Wooster), Hugh Laurie (House), and Emma Thompson (Love Actually, & Sense & Sensibility).

Sir Isaac Newton, FRS – mathematician, physicist, astronomer, theologian, alchemist, author, Fellow of Trinity College and Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, is the most famous college alumni. In his book Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, 1687, Newton formulated the Laws of Motion and Universal Gravitation that formed the dominant scientific viewpoint until it was superseded by the Theory of Relativity, and shares credit with Leibniz for developing calculus.

Cambridge Market

Cambridge Market

There has been a market in a square close by the colleges since 6th century established by Saxons. The present-day market takes place Monday-Saturday 10:00am –  4:00pm.Newton built the first practical reflecting telescope in 1668, and developed a sophisticated theory of colour based on the observation that a prism separates white light into the colours of the visible spectrum. Surprisingly, Newton dedicated much of his time to the study to the pseudo-science of alchemy.

Cambridge Botanical Gardens

Cambridge Botanical Gardens

Rivalry between the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge is a phenomenon going back many centuries. One of the continuing manifestations of this rivalry is the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race (rowing), which has taken place annually on the river Thames in London since the mid-19th century. Cambridge, in light blue, has won the men’s race 84 times and Oxford, in dark blue, 80 times. The annual Oxford and Cambridge Women’s Boat Race dates from 1964, with Cambridge winning 44 races, and Oxford 30.

 

 


Will you help us make this amazing trip possible by making a contribution? We’ve made it easy to donate by going to https://dhs-holmes-orchestras.org/store/product-category/2020-baroque-tour-public-donations/

All donations are tax deductible. DHS/Holmes Orchestra Boosters 501(c)(3) tax identification#: 82-5177533

King's College Chapel Choir

Baroque Music in Cambridge

Over the coming months there will be four blog posts for each city on the Davis High School Baroque Ensemble’s 2020 England-France Tour tour: Place of Interest; Concert Venue; Music; History of the city. This week’s post, the seventh of the series, is on Baroque music in Cambridge.


The second concert of the DHSBE tour will take place in Trinity College Chapel, University of Cambridge.

King's College Chapel ChoirMany of the Cambridge University Colleges have a long history of choral singing, with King’s College Choir probably being the best known. Founded by Henry VI in 1441, it was his intention that a choir would provide music for the daily offices and celebrations of the Mass. The College Statutes of 1453 stipulate that the choir would consist of ten secular chaplains, six stipendiary lay clerks (or ‘singing-men’) and sixteen choristers. Henry VI specified that the choristers were to be poor boys, of strong constitution and of ‘honest conversation’. They had to be under twelve years of age when admitted, and able to read and sing. In addition to their choral duties, singing daily Matins, Mass and Vespers, they were to wait at table in Hall. The boys were provided with meals and clothing, and eight pence a week for their board. They were not allowed to wander beyond the College grounds without permission from their Master or the Provost. Except for a few years in the 1550s under Edward VI, and during the period of the Commonwealth (Civil War) in the 1650s when choral services in the Chapel were suppressed, the Choir has been singing services continuously for over 500 years.

Allegri was a late Renaissance/early Baroque Italian composer who worked at the Sistine Chapel in Rome. His Miserere is his best known composition, and has been frequently recorded. In 1770, 14-year-old Mozart, on a trip to Rome with his father, heard the Miserere only twice and transcribed it faithfully from memory, thus creating the first known unauthorised copy. Roy Goodman, a former colleague in the Academy of Ancient Music in 1980’s, was a boy chorister, age 12, in Kings College Chapel choir. He was one of four boys specially prepared to sing the very demanding treble solo in the Miserere in 1963 for a recording. The chorus-master had told the four boys that only immediately prior to the start of the recording would he say which one of them would sing the solo. Roy, covered in mud after playing rugby, arrived at the chapel just in time to put on his cassock and join the other boys in the choir. He was chosen to sing the solo which continues to be one of the most remarkable performance of the piece:

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Many of the Cambridge colleges also have ‘organ scholars’ – a part time student assistant to the principal organist. The students are provided with playing, and music directing experience, and work under the direction of the college chapel Director of Music. Organ scholar, Trinity College Chapel:

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Will you help us make this amazing trip possible by making a contribution? We’ve made it easy to donate by going to https://dhs-holmes-orchestras.org/store/product-category/2020-baroque-tour-public-donations/

All donations are tax deductible. DHS/Holmes Orchestra Boosters 501(c)(3) tax identification#: 82-5177533

Trinity College Chapel

Cambridge – Concert Venue

Over the coming months there will be four blog posts for each city on the Davis High School Baroque Ensemble’s 2020 England-France Tour tour: Place of Interest; Concert Venue; Music; History of the city. This week’s post, the sixth of the series, is on the concert venue in Cambridge.


The second concert of the DHSBE tour will take place in Trinity College Chapel, University of Cambridge.

Trinity College Chapel

Trinity College Chapel

Trinity College was founded by Henry VIII in 1546. At the time, Henry had begun seizing lands from Catholic abbeys and monasteries (Henry had become the self-appointed head of his Church of England in 1534). The university of Cambridge, being both a religious institution and quite wealthy feared that it to be next in line to be closed. The King passed an Act of Parliament that allowed him to suppress and confiscate the property of any college he wished.

Trinity College Great Court

Trinity College Great Court

The university authorities pleaded with Henry’s sixth wife, Catherine Parr, who persuaded Henry not to close any of the Cambridge colleges, rather to consolidate and merge some of them to form the new Trinity College. Most of the Trinity’s major buildings date from the 16th and 17th centuries. Women were not admitted to Trinity College until 1975, and disappointingly wikipedia lists not a single alumna!

Trinity College Dining Hall

Trinity College Dining Hall

Trinity College Dining Hall

The Dining Hall hammer-beam roof dates from c.1350. The ‘hammer-beam’ is one of the most complex timber frame roof structures, and allows a span greater than the length of any individual piece of timber. In place of the normal wall-to-wall tie beam spanning the entire width of the roof, short beams – ‘hammer- beams’ are supported by curved braces from the wall, and further structure is built on top of the hammer beams.

 

Christopher Wren Library, 1695

Christopher Wren Library, 1695

The Wren Library

The Wren Library,1695, contains many notable rare books and manuscripts, many bequeathed by past members of the college. Included in the collection are a first edition of Newton’s Principia, A A Milne’s manuscript for Winnie the Pooh, and The House at Pooh Corner, several works printed by William Caxton, including the first book in English produced in England, and handwritten notes by Robert Oppenheimer describing the ‘Trinity’ atomic bomb test in New Mexico.

Famous Alumni include: Isaac Newton; Charles Babbage, inventor of the ‘Difference Engine (an early mechanical computer); poets Lord Byron, Alfred Tennyson, and A E Housman; William Fox Talbot, inventor of photography; authors A A Milne & Vladimir Nabokov; and Nobel Laureate Niels Bohr.

 

Cambridge – Trinity College Chapel

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Will you help us make this amazing trip possible by making a contribution? We’ve made it easy to donate by going to https://dhs-holmes-orchestras.org/store/product-category/2020-baroque-tour-public-donations/

All donations are tax deductible. DHS/Holmes Orchestra Boosters 501(c)(3) tax identification#: 82-5177533

cambridge-kings_chapel

Cambridge Places of Interest

Over the coming months there will be four blog posts for each city on the Davis High School Baroque Ensemble’s 2020 England-France Tour tour: Place of Interest; Concert Venue; Music; History of the city. This week’s post, the fifth of the series, is on places of interest in Cambridge.


The second concert of the DHSBE tour will take place in Trinity College Chapel, University of Cambridge.

Places of Interest

cambridge-kings_chapel

King’s College chapel with its ‘fan-vaulted’ ceiling

In addition to Trinity College, adjacent King’s College is of great architectural interest. Founded in 1441 by Henry VI and the earliest of the royal foundations, King’s College is worth visiting for the huge expanse of lawn extending down to the river and King’s Bridge. King’s College Chapel, is renowned for its 12-bay perpendicular-style interior and impressive ‘fan vaulting’ (1515). The chapel has 16th-century stained glass windows; a lavishly carved 16th-century wooden organ screen and choir stalls; and the altarpiece is the painting, ‘Adoration of the Magi’ (1634) by the Dutch artist, Rubens. There are regular choral services (Evensong), organ recitals, and concerts in the chapel.

 

 

the-backs-cambridge

Punts on The Backs – Cambridge

‘The Backs’ is a the picturesque area, where several colleges of the University of Cambridge, including Trinity College and adjacent King’s College, back on to the River Cam. There is public access to their grounds on both banks of the river.

The flat-bottomed boats in the above photo are punts – popular with students and visitors. They can be rented from several places along the river. ‘Punting’ with a pole is fun, and not difficult to do after a little practice. One of the favorite extended outings along the river in a punt is to the nearby village of Grantchester (2.5 miles/75 minutes ‘punting’ each way + a well earned rest and afternoon-tea at the Orchard Tea Rooms, before the return trip). The Vicarage – Grantchester is a well-known poem by Rupert Brooke reflecting on being homesick for England and his sometime Cambridgeshire home and countyside: “…yet stands the church clock at ten to three? And is there honey still for tea?” Brooke died in 1915 on active service in WWI.

 

bridge-of-sighs-cambridge

The Bridge of Sighs

The ‘Bridge of Sighs’ is a covered bridge at St John’s College, Cambridge University. It was built in 1831 and crosses the River Cam between the college’s Third Court and New Court. The bridge is a copy of  Ponte dei Sospiri in Venice, 1600, that connects the New Prison to the interrogation rooms in the Doge’s Palace.

 

 

Additional Places of Interest include:

Kettle’s Yard (housed in converted cottages) contains a very fine collection of mostly mid 20thc. art, notably by English artists Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, and Ben Nicholson.

Fitzwilliam Museum

Fitzwilliam Museum

The Fitzwilliam Museum contains an extensive collection of English pottery and china, Greek, Roman, and Egyptian antiquities, and illuminated manuscripts. The collection of paintings includes works by Hogarth, Gainsborough, and Turner, as well as Impressionists and Dutch Masters of the Baroque including Rembrandt, Van Dyck, and Rubens.

In addition to the Fitzwilliam there are several other interesting museums in Cambridge including:

The Whipple Museum of the History of Science collection includes material dating from the medieval period – 19th century, including instruments of astronomy, navigation, surveying, drawing and calculating, sundials, mathematical instruments, and early electrical apparatus.

University Botanical Gardens - Cambridge

University Botanical Gardens – Cambridge

Center for Computing History acts as a repository for vintage computers and related artefacts. On display are key items from the early era of computers, and also holds vintage games consoles, peripherals, software, and an extensive collection of computer manuals, magazines and other literature.

Polar Museum – This Museum explores Earth’s coldest, driest, windiest, highest and deadliest places, from heroes to modern climate science. It is part of the Scott Polar Research Institute, established in 1920 to study the Arctic and Antarctic.

The University Botanical Gardens, established in 1831, covers an area of 40 acres, and showcases an impressive collection of more than 8,000 species of plants from all over the world.

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Will you help us make this amazing trip possible by making a contribution? We’ve made it easy to donate by going to https://dhs-holmes-orchestras.org/store/product-category/2020-baroque-tour-public-donations/

All donations are tax deductible. DHS/Holmes Orchestra Boosters 501(c)(3) tax identification#: 82-5177533

Coffeehouse, London c.1700:

London History

Over the coming months there will be four blog posts for each city on the Davis High School Baroque Ensemble’s 2020 England-France Tour tour: Place of Interest; Concert Venue; Music; History of the city. This week’s post, the fourth of the series, is on the history of  London.


Standing on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. ‘Londinium’ was founded by the Romans c.47AD and lasted until until around AD 61 when the Iceni tribe, led by Queen Boudica, burned it to the ground. London was subsequently rebuilt and by the 2nd century, Roman London had a population of around 60,000. The City of London, (known as the ‘square mile’ and distinct from the larger city of London) is London’s ancient medieval core and includes the Tower of London, and St. Paul’s Cathedral). A section of the original Roman Wall is preserved in the grounds of the Museum of London in the City – together with many Roman artifacts including wood-working tools and coins.

London, was plagued by disease in the early 17th century, culminating in the Great Plague (smallpox) in 1666, which killed up to 100,000 people, a fifth of the population.The Great Fire of London broke out the following year, and quickly destroyed over 13,000 buildings, and the original St. Paul’s Cathedral. Christopher Wren proposed a a radical redesign of the City with a grid of roads, but this was never implemented, and the City was rebuilt using the original  layout of medieval streets. He did, however, build the new St Paul’s Cathedral.

The 18th century was a period of rapid growth for London, reflecting an increasing national population, the early stirrings of the Industrial Revolution, and London’s role at the centre of the evolving British Empire. Many tradesmen and skilled craftsmen from different countries came to London to trade goods.

One lesser considered aspect of 18th century England, and especially London, is that the rising middle class and the aristocracy were able to indulge their interest in music and art, and build grand country houses largely as a result of their profits from the Slave Trade.

Coffeehouse, London c.1700:

Coffeehouse, London c.1700:

In the 17thc. Coffee appeared for the first time in Europe outside the Ottoman Turkish Empire, and coffeehouses (precursors of Starbucks) were first established in London in 1650’s. They became popular (men only – coffee was not considered a suitable beverage for women), and they began to gain political importance due to their popularity as places of debate. Coffeehouses became popular in other cities, and by 1675 there were more than 3,000 in England. The famous insurance broker ‘Lloyds of London’, had its start in a coffee house in the City in 1686.

 

A Musical Tea Party - Mid 18th century

A Musical Tea Party – Mid 18th century

Tea from China was first imported to England in the early 17th century by the East India Company. It was an expensive product and often kept under lock and key. Catherine of Braganza, wife of Charles II introduced the ritual of drinking teas to the English Royal Court, and the habit was adopted by the aristocracy. The first tea shop for ladies was opened in London in 1717 by Thomas Twining (who also sold leaf tea for consumption at home), and slowly tea shops began to appear throughout England.

A Musical Tea Party - Mid 18th century:

Luncheon with Hot Chocolate – mid 18th century

Chocolate was introduced to England around 1600, first and foremost as a drink, and remained popular in that form for over 200 years. 18th-century hot chocolate was more bitter than our modern variations, but still intensely pleasant. Initially made with cocoa liquor (blocks of ground cocoa nibs) and water, it was popularly served with an equal mix of water and milk, spiced with ingredients including cinnamon, sugar, vanilla, chilli, rosewater, honey, pepper, jasmine or even ambergris.  Hot Chocolate, mid 18th century:

River Thames Frost Fair

River Thames Frost Fair

During the 17thc. the River Thames froze sufficiently several times for Frost Fairs to be established on the ice. In 1683/84, the  famous English writer and diarist John Evelyn described his visit to a Fair:

“Coaches plied from Westminster to the Temple, and from several other staires to and fro, as in the streetes, sliding with skeetes, a bull-baiting, horse and coach races, puppet plays and interludes, cookes, tipling and other lewd places, so that it seemed a bacchanalian triumph or carnival on the water, whilst it was a severe judgement on the land, the trees not onely splitting as if lightning-struck, but men and cattle perishing in diverse places, and the very seas so lock’d up with ice, that no vessels could stir out or come in.”

 

 


Will you help us make this amazing trip possible by making a contribution? We’ve made it easy to donate by going to https://dhs-holmes-orchestras.org/store/product-category/2020-baroque-tour-public-donations/

All donations are tax deductible. DHS/Holmes Orchestra Boosters 501(c)(3) tax identification#: 82-5177533