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MusicPart of Humanities

Rice and Brabant - Live from Chirk Castle

Published: 16 June 2014

On Saturday 14 June 2014, The Brabant Ensemble, directed by Lecturer in Music Stephen Rice and accompanied by Christian Wilson (organ), performed music from the Chirk Castle Partbooks (assembled c.1630 but containing music dating c.1550-1630) in the chapel of Chirk Castle itself. The concert was broadcast live by BBC Radio 3.

Chirk Castle, whose construction began in 1294, is was an important stronghold on the border between England and North Wales. It was purchased by the Middleton family in 1595, and in the early 17th century Sir Thomas Middleton began a programme of improving the building. He had the chapel refurbished, purchased an organ, and instituted a programme of choral services under the direction of William Deane, organist of nearby Wrexham parish. Deane prepared a set of six musical partbooks - five vocal parts and an organ part - for use in the chapel. Composers include Tallis, Byrd, Tye, Gibbons, Morley, William Mundy, Robert Parsons Edmund Hooper, John Amner, and the collector of the partbooks himself, William Deane.

The Brabant Ensemble released a highly acclaimed recording of music from the Chirk Castle Partbooks on the Hyperion label in 2009, but this was the first time the music from the partbooks has been broadcast live from the chapel.

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