THE centrepiece of this weekend’s Cattistock Fox Festival is an oratorio penned by musician Nick Morris.

The Fox That Walked on Water retells the possibly apocryphal tale of two instances when the animal was chased, by the Cattistock Hunt, to the shores of the Fleet lagoon. It then evaded its pursuers by apparently walking over the water.

“The incidents occurred in Victorian times and the story has a mystical element, although in fact the fox got away by crossing a submerged walkway built by monks,” said Nick, who wrote the oratorio between January and May this year.

“It’s not a pro-hunting piece of music at all, more a celebration of the animal.”

The libretto for the oratorio was provided by Fox Festival organiser Merrily Harpur and Nick added the music. The piece will be performed by a four-part choir accompanied by two flutes, a trumpet and strings.

“The feel is of a Victorian church band, like the gallery quires of Thomas Hardy’s time,” said Nick. “I wanted it to sound as if it came from that time and the music fits very well.”

Nick has also written a 21st century version of the Cattistock Hunting Song, which will be performed tonight alongside the original version, which will be performed by local folk singer John Bullock.

The Fox that Walked on Water will be performed in Cattistock Church tomorrow at 4pm.

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