Into the light
Buckfast Abbey, Saturday February 24 at 7.30pm
A concert at Buckfast Abbey will present some of the music written for Lent and Easter by Orlande de Lassus (1532-1594), a towering genius of 16th-century choral music. The concert, by early-music choir VOCES under the direction of Martyn Warren, will start at 7.30pm on Saturday 24 February.
With Easter being early this year, the Christian season of Lent is already nearly upon us. Although a sombre time, designated as a period of fasting and penitence, it has provided plenty of inspiration for church composers over the centuries.
No more so than in the last three days of Holy Week, reflecting the events leading up to and beyond the Crucifixion, when the pre-dawn office of Matins acquired the name ‘Tenebrae’, Latin for ‘darkness’.
The bleakness of these services, and the music composed for them, dissolves in a blaze of light at dusk on Easter Saturday, when the celebration of the Resurrection begins.
The concert reflects this passage from darkness to light through a small proportion of the music that Lassus wrote for Lent and Easter, starting with Ash Wednesday and the early days of Lent before dwelling on the offices of Holy Week, including settings of the Lamentations of Jeremiah and Tenebrae Responsories.
The climax of the concert will be provided by the Easter motet Surrexit pastor bonus (The Good Shepherd has arisen) and the ten-voice hymn Aurora lucis rutilat (Light’s glittering morn bedecks the sky); an appropriate celebration of light emerging from the shadows.
Complementing the choral music will be organ interludes composed by Dom. Sebastian Wollf, monk of Buckfast Abbey, played by Richard Lea, Assistant Organist at the Abbey.
Tickets are £10 from www.buckfast.org.uk/boxoffice, from the Abbey Bookshop and on the door.
The Grange Restaurant at Buckfast Abbey will be open from 6pm, and a pre-concert two-course menu can be booked for £19.75. For details go to www.buckfast.org.uk/concertdinners or phone 01364 645504.
Philip R Buttall
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