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Introduction

Music is an important element in the daily life of a monk.

At the daily Conventual Mass, the monastic community sings the ‘Propers’ of the Mass (the Introit, Alleluia and Communion Antiphon), along with the ‘Ordinary’ of the Mass (the Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus and Agnus Dei) set to the ancient and beautiful Gregorian chant melodies.  As well as the Mass, the community stops to pray six times each day, to sing the ‘Divine office’.  The words of psalms and scripture are enhanced when sung to Gregorian chants, some composed over one thousand years ago.

In the year 2009, the community embarked upon a musical project to build a choral foundation at the Abbey; the Abbey choir (2009), and Abbey voluntary choir (2010) were formed.  These choirs complement the monastic chant with choral music, so that our liturgy may be a source of inspiration and beauty to those who worship God in this holy place.

Music Lists

Music Lists

Full details of the ‘Order of Services and Music’ can be downloaded as a PDF document here

1 - Lent term 2017 - Buckfast Abbey OSM

An archive of previous 'Order of Services' will be made available in the coming weeks.

Abbey Musicians

Philip Arkwright  - Organist & Master of the Music

In September 2013, Philip was appointed Organist and Master of the Music at the Abbey.  Philip, originally born in St Helens, Merseyside, spent the previous twelve years at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King.
Philip graduated from Liverpool Hope University, with a combined honours degree in Theology and Religious Studies, with Music.  During his time at university, Philip was Organ Scholar at the University St Catherine’s Chapel, and also sang as a Choral Scholar at the Metropolitan Cathedral.
After graduation, Philip was appointed Organ Scholar at the Cathedral for two years, which then led to his subsequent appointment as Assistant Organist.
During this time, Philip was pleased to be involved in many areas of the liturgical life of the cathedral;  as well as the daily opus Dei (the daily round of choral services), Philip participated in television and radio broadcasts, CD recordings, concerts, and choir tours to Canada, Germany, France, Holland and Ireland, as well as venues in the United Kingdom.

In 2008, Philip embarked upon an exciting project, in conjunction with the Cathedral Choir School, to found a choir of girl choristers, giving girls the opportunity to benefit from a chorister education. The girls’ choir very quickly matured, and under his direction was recognised as the leading choir of girl choristers in the country.  The girls’ choir also developed a series of broadcasts, recordings and tours.  Interestingly, the last tour Philip organised with the girls’ choir and lay clerks of the cathedral, was to Buckfast Abbey.  Philip was pleased that the Abbey was the last place he ever conducted the girls’ choir, in his new post!  Philip is incredibly excited to start work at the Abbey, and has many plans to develop the musical tradition at the Abbey.
For all enquiries, please email:  



Richard Lea

Appointed Assistant Organist at the Abbey in September 2016. He was formally the Organist and Assistant Director of Music at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, Liverpool.

He studied at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and Christ’s and Notre Dame College in Liverpool and was Organ Scholar at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral studying with Noel Rawsthorne, Terence Duffy and Philip Duffy. He was then Organist at the Church of St. Oswald and St Edmund Arrowsmith, Ashton-in-Makerfield, Lancashire.
He was appointed Organist at the Cathedral in 1999 working with Mervyn Cousins, Keith Orrell, Terence Duffy, Timothy Noon and Christopher McElroy.  He directed for many years Wigan Choral Society, the Brixi Singers, and the Metropolitan Cathedral Cantata Choir. He has made numerous broadcasts and has recorded three discs of the music of Lefébure Wély (featured in BBC Radio 2’s The Organist Entertains), the complete organ works of the Welsh composer William Mathias and the World Premiere recording of Sir John Tavener’s Requiem (on EMI with the RLPO and Choir conducted by Vasily Petrenko).  
Reviews include - ‘it is Richard Lea’s superb playing that steals the show’ (Organists’ Review)’ ‘really first rate playing’, ‘masterful’ (Gramophone), ‘Here is music and playing that will lift your spirits (American Organist), ‘the performances are brilliant…and genuinely moving’ (International Record Review), ‘exemplary performances – 5 stars’ (Orgelnieuws). He has recently released a DVD, receiving great reviews – ‘Bravado performances’, ‘This is one of the most outstanding instrumental releases on DVD this year’ (International Record Review), ‘Virtuosic and riveting’, ‘Highly recommended’ (Organists’ Review).


Abbey Choirs

The Abbey choirs

The Abbey choir was founded in the year 2009; the Choir has since developed a wide ranging repertoire, specialising in the early polyphonic music of the sixteenth century, from composers of the English School, Tavener, Byrd and Tallis, as well as composers of the continental schools, Palestrina, Victoria and Philips. Complimenting this early music, the choir sings from a vast repertoire of the French romantic tradition, from composers such as Widor, Vierne, Langlais and Duruflé. The choir also enjoys the challenge of singing new and contemporary music of the modern Catholic composers, James MacMillan, Roxanna Panufnik as well as composer in residence and monk Dom Sebastian Wolff.  The Abbey choir has quickly gained an outstanding musical reputation, drawing upon singers from across Devon and beyond.

The choir gives one concert a term in the Abbey.

The choir is composed of eight Sopranos, four Counter-Tenors, four Tenors and four Basses. Applications for places in the choir should be sent by email to: Philip Arkwright - Organist & Master of the Music  


Abbey voluntary choir

The Abbey voluntary choir was founded in the year 2010; the choir’s first director was Trevor Jarvis. The Voluntary Choir is an unauditioned choir, open to all, comprised mainly of the Abbey congregation who wish to participate in the choral foundation.  The choir rehearses on Thursday evenings and sings occasionally at the Sunday 10:30 Conventual Mass. The choir is very much a congregational leadership choir, learning hymns, psalms, motets as well as the Gregorian chant Masses.
The choir is composed of around 35 people. 

If you wish to join the Voluntary choir, please send an email to: Philip Arkwright - Organist & Master of the Music




Concerts

Concerts

The Abbey is fast becoming a centre for the arts (and sacred music especially) in the South West, hosting a busy and successful concert series. As well as the Abbey Choir, which gives four concerts annually, the Abbey is used as a base by a number of local choirs. The Abbey has a sublime acoustics and is an inspiring building in which to make music in.

Abbey Choir: Mozart Mass and Vespers

Saturday 27th July 2019. 19:30 | £10.00

Join the Abbey Choir and Orchestra for a summer evening in the company of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. They will perform the Spätzenmesse and the Vesperae solennes de confessore. Saturday 27th July 2019. 19:30 There is a pre-concert two-course meal available in the Grange Restaurant at 18:00 for only £19.75.

Grand-Orgue Recital: Olivier Latry

Saturday 10th August 2019, 19:30 | £15.00 / £10.00

Hailed as "one of the brightest stars of the organ world", Olivier Latry performs a virtuosic programme centred around the music of Bach and those who have paid him homage. The concert includes the Fantasia & Fugue in G minor (after the piano version by Franz Liszt) plus music by Widor, Schumann, Saint-Saëns and others. Known for his consummate skill in extemporisation, Latry will end the evening with an improvisation. There is a pre-concert two-course meal available in the Grange Restaurant at 18:00 for only £19.75.

...Please click here for more up coming concerts at Buckfast Abbey

If you would are interested in bringing your choir to sing as part of the concert series, please email Philip Arkwright at


Newsletter

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Pre-Concert Two Course Meal

Attending a concert at the Abbey? Why not make an evening of it by taking advantage of our pre-concert dinners or snacks in the Grange Restaurant. Accommodation is also available in the idyllic setting of Northgate House, at a reduced price for concert goers. Call 01364 645630 quoting 'Concert Offer 1'

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Recordings

Recordings

The first review of the recent Abbey Choir CD recording from Mark Sealey of Music Web International:

"This is a compelling collection of over twenty Hymns of the Divine Office."

"There is a certainty and confidence in each relatively short work."

"The directness and clarity achieved by the Choir of Buckfast Abbey under Philip Arkwright amply support this plain purpose."

"They preserve the beauty and richness of both text and melody - largely by appealing to the lucidity of the melody coupled with the import of the text."

"Arkwright, who was born in 1983 and appointed Organist and Master of the Music at Buckfast in 2013, keeps a tight ship. One knows at least that one is in good hands."


"The works are of great beauty and convey a certainty."

"The acoustic is the oft-recorded one of Buckfast Abbey, Devon - which is a modern reconstruction dating from the early part of the twentieth century - with a beautiful balance of resonance and penetration."

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Christe Redemptor Omnium - preview
Lustris sex qui jam peractis - preview
O Lux Beata Trinitas - preview
Veni Creator Spiritus - preview
Vexilla Regis Prodeunt - preview

Visiting Choirs


Visiting Choirs

The Abbey is superb venue for a choir tour. Located in the heart of Dartmoor national park, and having residential facilities on sight, plus the opportunity to perform in the Abbey. We welcome visiting choirs, to sing at the 10:30 Conventual Mass, when the Abbey choir is not in residence.


For all enquiries, please email:  

We use the word 'vocation' to describe a call from God to follow His Son Jesus Christ in the way of life he shows us in the gospels. For some people, this call is to devote their life to serving God in a radical and all-encompassing way as a member of a Religious Order.

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Summer Food & Craft Fair 2019

Our Annual Summer Food & Craft Fair was held on Saturday 6th July for the third year. There was an amazing mix of passionate local businesses who presented a bountiful display of food, drink and crafts from the South West of England.



Healthy Bees Day

A detailed look at Honey Bee disease: diagnosis, treatment and avoidance. The day will teach you how to recognise healthy brood and how to detect when things are not as they should be. Plenty of hands on experience coupled with expert advice and tuition. Saturday 20th July from 11am to 4pm. *Bring your own lunch or dine at The Grange Restaurant on site.

Private Garden Areas July 2019

Wed July 24th Private Garden Areas A garden tour with the Abbey’s Head Gardener exploring garden areas not normally open to the public. Meet outside The Grange Restaurant at 11am £3 pp

Abbey Choir: Mozart Mass and Vespers

Join the Abbey Choir and Orchestra for a summer evening in the company of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. They will perform the Spätzenmesse and the Vesperae solennes de confessore. Saturday 27th July 2019. 19:30 There is a pre-concert two-course meal available in the Grange Restaurant at 18:00 for only £19.75.