Coro Casa da Música Porto & Psallentes♀

Amazingly enough some private libraries still hold quite exceptional treasures. The manuscript of Alcobaça is a case in point. The 16th-century gradual contains colourfully illuminated initials, beautifully detailed ornamental borders and some folios richly decorated with gold leaf. However, the most conspicuous characteristic of the manuscript is its gigantic size: 1.80 by 1.20 metres! Such colossal graduals or ‘cantorales’ were most common in the 16th century in the south of Europe, but several copies also surfaced in the New World. Especially for Laus Polyphoniae the Flemish ensemble Psallentes♀ and the Portuguese choir of the Casa da Música Porto take up the challenge to perform the Gregorian plainsong from the privately preserved manuscript of Alcobaça on the festival stage: a world première!

Hendrik Vanden Abeele, artistic direction