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Chapelle du Roi 'Tenebrae by Candlelight'

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by Sandra Lawson (subscribe)
To paraphrase Dorothy: 'There is no place like London.' I hope I can convince you of that here. Also check out my blog at and my theatre reviews at
Chapelle du Roi Singing for Easter in St John's Smith Square
Holy Week is the most sacred festival of the Christian Church, so it is no wonder that composers several hundred years ago were inspired to write commemorative music at a time when religion played a much greater role in people's lives. Tenebrae by Candlelight celebrates the tradition of services that are held over the Triduum: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday, to a background of candle dimming. The Latin word 'Tenebrae' translates as 'Darkness'

The vocal ensemble, Chapelle du Roi, will be singing Tenebrae by Candlelight in St John's Smith Square on Wednesday, 27 March this year, the day before Maundy Thursday. Alistair Dixon will direct the eight singers in a programme of Renaissance music of Lamentations and Responses. The former will encompass work by Palestrina and Lobo as well as Victoria's Ave Maria. The Lenten Responses are provided by the English composers Thomas Tallis and William Byrd, a man whose musical compositions were greatly influenced by his recusant beliefs in Catholicism after the English Reformation.

Chapelle du Roi 'Tenebrae by Candlelight'
Chapelle du Roi 'Tenebrae by Candlelight' (Image Courtesy of their website)

You don't have to be religious to enjoy music of this quality in the exquisite acoustic surroundings of a Baroque church that is younger than the music that will be performed. If you are unfamiliar with the programme for the evening here is a brief sample of Chapelle du Roi performing sacred music by Tallis as well as a rendition of Tomas Luis de Victoria's Ave Maria performed by another choir. If you are inspired or intrigued to hear more, why not book a ticket for the concert?

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Why? To listen to sublime sacred music for easter
When: 7.30pm 27 March
Where: St John's Smith Square
Cost: From 10
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