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Durham Concert of Recusant Music E-mail
Written by The Editor   
Friday, 21 June 2013 08:16

CAPPELLA FEDE: Lost Catholic music to be premiered

Several recently discovered pieces of eighteenth century music are to be given their first modern airings during a concert at Ushaw’s historic St Cuthbert’s chapel.

The concert will showcase Catholic music from the break with Rome in the sixteenth century to the eve of nineteenth century Catholic emancipations, exploring the ways in which the music developed to fit the frequently clandestine environments in which it had to be performed.

The programme of sacred and secular vocal and instrumental music associated with the British Catholic recusant community will include works by William Byrd, Matthew Locke, Innocenzo Fede, Nicola Matteis and some exciting first modern performances of new discoveries.  The music will be performed by Cappella Fede, whose leader, Peter Leech, recently discovered several pieces of music that were performed at the court of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s brother, the Cardinal Duke of York.

“We are very lucky to have Peter Leech and his superb group premiering these recent discoveries at Ushaw,” said Dr James Kelly of Durham University’s Centre for Catholic Studies.  “Those who were lucky enough to have seen the performance by Dr Leech and Cappella Fede during Liverpool’s city of culture celebrations will know that this is an event not to be missed.  It is also a chance to hear an often forgotten part of the history of music in this country and to do so in the spectacular setting of Ushaw’s main chapel.”

The concert is on Saturday 29 June, starting at 7:30pm.  Tickets are £10 each and can be obtained from Dr Lucy Underwood at Durham University’s Centre for Catholic Studies ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ). Please send cheques, include either email or postal address, to receive tickets as demand is likely to be high. Cheques should be made payable to “Durham University Centre for Catholic Studies”.

The concert is taking place at Ushaw, the former seminary outside the city of Durham, as part of a major international conference on English Catholicism in the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries.

Further information
On Saturday 29 June at 7:30pm in Ushaw College Chapel, Cappella Fede – a specialist Early Music ensemble formed by conductor Peter Leech in 2008 – will perform a concert of music associated with the British Catholic community from the 16th to 18th centuries, as part of the ‘What is Early Modern English Catholicism?’ conference organized by Durham University’s Centre for Catholic Studies. Part of the concert will be devoted to music of the Stuart court-in-exile, based at Saint-Germain-en-laye from 1689-1719, then (via Urbino) at Rome from 1719 until 1807, the latter year seeing the death of Cardinal Henry Benedict Stuart at the age of 81.

A keen musician from his earliest years, and made a Cardinal by Pope Benedict XIV at the age of 22, Henry Benedict spent much of his considerable ecclesiastical income on music, yet the legacy of his 60 years as a patron has faded into oblivion. Recent research by Peter Leech in Roman, German and Danish archives has revealed a wealth of previously unknown secular and sacred music written for Henry by highly talented composers such as Giovanni Zamboni (fl.1700-50) and Sebastiano Bolis (1750-1804). Some of these works will receive probably their first modern performances for more than 200 years at the Ushaw concert, revealing the musical splendour and magnificence at the court of the last Stuart monarch of the direct line from James I.


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