The Malta Independent 7 June 2023, Wednesday
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KorMalta presents the Divine Office of Darkness with modern-day revival of Ancient Renaissance works

Wednesday, 15 March 2023, 21:26 Last update: about 4 months ago

KorMalta, Malta's National Choir,  will be performing the Divine Office of Darkness - a sombre remembrance and reflection on the sufferings of Jesus Christ with a modern-day revival of Ancient Renaissance works on the Lamentations of the prophet Jeremiah. Artistic Director and Conductor Riccardo Bianchi will be leading the choir in this rare and iconic performance at the Church of St Gregory in Zejtun on Saturday 18 March. 

This service usually takes place during the easter triduum, characterised by the fateful words of the prophet Jeremiah.  Jeremiah is considered by Christian tradition as the prophet of the Passion of Christ. This is one of the reasons why the reading of his Lamentations was introduced during the week before Easter to translate more intensely the drama of Calvary. Like most of the rich repertoire synonymous with this period in the Catholic church liturgical year, This text has been set to music in polyphony by the most important composers since the fifteenth century.

This collection in particular includes works by several composers and was published in Paris in 1557 by the famous printing house of Le Roi & Ballard. Born in the second half of the 1400s these include Carpentras, Antoine de Févin, Costanzo Festa, Jacques Arcadelt and Claudin de Sermisy. During this period a novel way of composing music was being ushered in and labeled as ''modern'' in contrast to the other works of the time. The composers who compiled this collection are all part of a generation of "transition" between ancient and modern.

Nonetheless, this authentic revival required months of attention and meticulous work by the choristers and artistic direction of KorMalta. The ancient choral book was first digitally transcribed and arranged to modern notations bringing all choral parts together - unlike the original "mensural notation" where each part is written individually. The choir then took up the task of interpreting the music - breathing in new life to these notes which had been left unsung for centuries and ensuring an authentic interpretation.

This concert is presented in collaboration with the Valletta Baroque Ensemble. Tickets are available on

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