Thursday, August 15, 2013

Music from the Rite of Braga

Braga has been one of the most significant centres of religion in Portugal for over 1600 years. During the Council of Trent, a special dispensation was granted to the Archdiocese of Braga which allowed the continued use of their own version of the Roman rite: the 'Rito Bracarense'.

Capella Duriensis is a professional Portuguese vocal ensemble based in Porto directed by Jonathan Ayerst. It is a vocal ensemble which specialises in training young Portuguese singers to a professional level. Maintaining a working schedule of rehearsals, concerts and recordings throughout the year, the choir prepares repertoire from the earliest medieval manuscripts to music of the present day. Since 2011 Capella Duriensis has been ensemble-in-residence at the Escola das Artes, Universidade Católica Portuguesa.

The Choir has recently released a CD of newly unearthed musical treasures from the Portuguese Rite of Braga, an early medieval rite such as the Ambrosian and Sarum rites. Entitled 'Música Sacra de Portugal Vol.1 - O Rito Bracarense', the project brings to fruition many years of research by musicologists Manuel Pedro Ferreira and João Pedrod'Alvarenga who have transcribed music from the archives of the Sé de Braga including Chant from the Braga Gradual, an early 16th century collection which contains music dating back to the 11th century. The recording includes the Infesta S Petri Ratensis and Missa Quinque Plagarum as well as works based on Chant of the Braga Rite by 16th century Mestres de Capela such as Lourenço Ribeiro, Pero de Gamboa and Miguel da Fonseca.

You can buy the CD from the Choir's website and it is also available for download in the USA here. A preview is available in the YouTube clip below. Next year the choir will be involved in a series of concerts each of which will be devoted to a different medieval rite: Sarum, Byzantine, Ambrosian, Gallican and Roman.