Classical Music - A Cappella Choir

Joao de Braganza, known here as King John IV of Portugal, was a Renaissance Man par excellence, a reforming king who paved the way for Portugal’s independence from Spain, fought a colonial war against the Dutch, collected one of the largest libraries in the world, wrote a good deal of cutting-edge criticism of music, and was an highly sophisticated composer in his own right. You can hear just how sophisticated at the Westgate Chapel this evening, as the A Cappella Choir will be performing his Crux Fidelis.

One of John’s most salient pieces of writing was a defence of the composer Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, whose groundbreaking compositions pushed A Cappella (Italian for ‘in the chapel’) choir singing into its heyday in the late 16th century. The choir will perform the Italian maestro’s Missa Brevis and Super Flumina Babylonis. Other works on the bill tonight are by Johannes Eckhart, Tomas Luis de Victoria and Adrian Batten. The A Cappella Choir, led by theologian Gregory Atkin, are currently celebrating their tenth anniversary in some style. The choir recently performed in the Thomas a Becket church on the occasion of the Mayor's inauguration. “The Westgate Chapel is a fine venue,” says Atkin, “because, although it doesn’t afford reverberating cathedral-type acoustics, it is set well away from any traffic.” 16th century liturgical choir music may not be your idea of a wild Friday night out, but even if you aren’t an aficionado, tonight’s concert offers an excellent way to gently unwind. AL

No strings attached: Palestrina championed unaccompanied
liturgical choral singing
Westgate Chapel, High St, Lewes
When? 7.30pm
How Much? Retiring collection