Sung Tenebrae

Sung Tenebrae

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Tenebrae is the Latin word for darkness or shadows. In this evocative liturgy the church candles are gradually extinguished after each reading until there is total darkness. Only a single candle remains lit but even this is hidden. Thus we are led to contemplate the very real darkness of isolation and abandonment that Our Lord felt during that very first Holy Week. Then a loud noise or ‘strepitus’ is made that symbolises the earthquake at the time of Christ’s death (Matthew 27) and the cosmic battle between good and evil. At the moment of the earthquake the veil of the temple was torn thus exposing the Holy of Holies to public view. Christ’s passion reveals a way for us to God that now knows no barrier. After this the sole candle is revealed. By it’s light we are bidden to prepare ourselves to prepare for the Sacred Triduum and the story upon which the whole world turns.

This service is sung at St Augustine’s, Kilburn by a professional octet of London singers drawn from choirs in the See of Fulham. The Bishop of Fulham will read George Herbert’s poem The Sacrifice in sections to intersperse between the passion narratives. The music includes Antonio Lotti’s duly famous Crucifixus à 8.

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The Fulham Holy Week Festival of Music and Liturgy celebrates the union of music and liturgy within Holy Week. The festi...val serves both the congregations within the See of Fulham and also shows the marriage of music and religion to the rest of the world.

The Holy Week Festival of Music and Liturgy charts the dramatic events of Christ's trial and Passion through art, word and music. Set in some of London's most iconic Anglo-Catholic buildings, musicians from across the See of Fulham come together to provide concerts and liturgies that would otherwise be lacking this year owing to the restrictions resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.

Audiences can experience every moment of this heart-wrenching story, through the emotional twists of betrayal and loss, pain and suffering, triumph and victory, all from the comfort of their own homes.

The week begins with a service of Compline. This ancient office of the Church has a beautiful, meditative rhythm and is chanted here by the Schola Cantorum of St Matthew's, Kensington Olympia. Later in the week St Augustine's Voices and the Bishop of Fulham present a version of Tenebrae (meaning darkness), a service traditionally held after dark in the final days of Holy Week. Characterized by the gradual extinguishing of candles and the 'strepitus' (or loud noise), this dramatic liturgy drives home the powerful Christian symbolism of darkness and light.

There are concerts and recitals to enjoy, each adding their own musical flavour to the week's events, before our story reaches the agony of the cross on Good Friday. Join the Parish Choir of St Gabriel's, Pimlico as they chart Christ's final moments through the music of John Stainer's much loved oratorio, 'The Cruxifixion'. Our inaugural Holy Week Festival is brought to a close with The Erebus Ensemble and a reflective programme featuring Jean Richafort's sublime Requiem and Sir James MacMillan's thrilling setting of psalm 51, Miserere mei Deus.
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