Our first CD is out now on Toccata Classics
‘Consort singing second to none’
‘A moving disc’
‘We’re glad we found this one’
– Elin Manahan Thomas & Andrew McGregor, BBC Radio 3 Record Review, January 2017
For another glowing review by Andrew Benson-Wilson see his recent blog post
The specialist ensemble for 17th and 18th-century music, Cappella Fede (named in honour of Innocenzo Fede, composer and maestro di cappella at the Catholic chapel of King James II from 1686-88) were formed by Peter Leech in 2008 in response to an invitation to perform at the landmark Catholic cultural event, Held in Trust: 2008 Years of Sacred Culture.
This exhibition of unique British Catholic cultural artefacts drew huge crowds, and the concert, which took place at St Francis’ Xavier’s Church, Liverpool on 30 July, was a sell-out and received rave reviews.
Cappella Fede immediately established a reputation for innovative programming, with several first modern performances in the concert, transcribed and edited by Peter Leech from British 17th- century sources, including a Dixit Dominus by Antonio Cossandi, a Laudate pueri Dominum by Giovanni Sebenico (organist and composer in the Catholic chapel of Catherine of Braganza) and organ pieces from the Antoine Selosse manuscript, discovered by Peter in 2004.
Other items in the programme included a rare motet by Claude Desgranges and the two surviving complete choral works by Innocenzo Fede; a Nunc dimittis and Laudate pueri Dominum, for Compline and Vespers respectively.
In 2013 Cappella Fede performed at two prestigious events.
The first concert was part of an exciting one-day symposium dedicated to Jesuit culture, The World is our House, on Friday 21 June.
The performance, at 7.30 pm in St Francis Xavier’s Church, Hereford, featured reconstructed choruses and recitatives from a range of 17th-century Jesuit plays, including Jakob Balde’s Jephtias (1654) and Johann Kaspar Weissenbach’s Eidgnossiches Contrafeth (1673). It also included the first modern performance of the complete reconstructed recitatives from the rare Jesuit drama Sanctus Tewdricus (c.1679), excerpts from which were first performed at Liverpool in 2008. There were also motets by Felice Anerio (maestro di cappella at the Collegio dei Inglesi in the 1580s), Agostino Agazzari, a teacher at the Roman College at the turn of the 17th-century and Tomas Luis de Victoria.
A review of the conference and concert can be found at on The World is our House blog
Concert team: Claire Tomlin, Zoë Maitland, Clare McCaldin, Peter Leech, Philip Tebb, Martin Knizia, Hazel Brooks, Jane Norman, Jenny Bullock
The second concert, in Ushaw College Chapel, Durham, on Saturday 29 June at 7.30 pm, was part of a conference organised by the Centre for Catholic Studies at Durham University, entitled ‘What is Early Modern English Catholicism?’
This programme featured a range of Catholic music pertinent to British Catholic cultural life c.1600-1800, including the probable first modern performances of works by composers active in the circle around Cardinal Henry Benedict Stuart (1725-1807), grandson of James II, brother of Bonnie Prince Charlie and last in the direct Stuart line of succession.
Two almost completely unknown composers in particular were favoured by Cardinal Henry; Sebastiano Bolis, and Giovanni Zamboni. Alongside their delightful motets and madrigals will be items by William Byrd and the first modern performance of a motet and song by the newly identified English 17th-century Jesuit composer, Thomas Kingsley.
Repertoire included : Bolis: Cinque Assoluzzione, Laudate pueri Dominum, Matteis: Crudele gaudium, Sebenico: Laudate pueri Dominu , Fede: Sonata in F Minor, Nunc dimittis
In June 2014 Cappella Fede performed two exciting concerts – their Birmingham debut at Oscott College and their London debut at the Jesuit Church, Farm Street, Mayfair.
The Birmingham programme featured music by Richard Dering, Richard Mico, Claude Desgranges, Matthew Locke and Nicola Matteis and others, as well as the first modern performances of reconstructed music from The Great Hodge Podge, a manuscript collection derived from the recusant Blundell family of Little Crosby.
The London programme featured music associated with English Jesuit colleges at Liege, St Omers, and other Jesuit colleges throughout Europe during the early baroque period, and was part of celebrations marking the 400th anniversary of the founding of Heythrop College in 1614.
In June 2015 Cappella Fede returned to St Mary’s College Oscott for a concert of modern world premieres of glorious sacred music by Sebastiano Bolis, Giovanni Battista Costanzi, Niccolo Jommelli and other composers associated with Cardinal Henry Benedict Stuart. With the gracious sponsorship of the college, these works, including instrumental items by Carlo Tessarini, were recorded for the ensemble’s first CD.