Preview: Chantry Quire – A Passiontide concert featuring Scarlatti’s Stabat Mater

On Saturday 16th March at 7.30pm in the magical setting of Boxgrove Priory, the Chantry Quire is to present its annual Passiontide Meditation, a mixture of readings and beautiful, seasonal choral music. Chantry Quire, directed by Peter Allwood, is a small chamber choir based in West Sussex, and is joined on this occasion by organ continuo player, Jonathan Lee. 

The centre piece of the performance is Domenico Scarlatti’s extraordinary 10-movement setting of the Stabat Mater (Mother Mary stood at the base of the cross). It features an unusually rich texture of ten separate voice parts (SSSSAATTBB) plus continuo organ, with a score packed full of intense suspensions and harmonic progressions, as well as dynamic and spirited contrapuntal writing. 

To open the programme, the choir presents a number of shorter motets, including John Blow’s heartrending Salvator Mundi, and two works by popular contemporary composers:Joanna Forbes L’Estrange’s beautiful setting of Drop, drop slow tears and Paul Mealor’s setting of Ubi Caritas written for the royal wedding. These are followed by two ‘penitential’ motets by the French composer, Poulenc – Venea Mea Electa and Tristis best anima mea.

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