Founded in 2009, Cappella Sanctae Catharinae is Malta’s only male chamber choir. Specialising in Renaissance polyphony, the choir started off as a performance project tied to the concert series held regularly at the Church of St. Catherine of Italy in Valletta. Following positive critical acclaim, the original members decided to make the choir a permanent group. Over the past few years, the choir has already established itself on the Maltese cultural scene with a number of concerts to its credit.
As part of our upcoming project Cappella Sanctae Catharinae will be presenting a concert titled Gaudete! Music in Early Modern Malta, dedicated to music in Malta from the early modern period. The arrival of the Knights Hospitaller of St John in 1530 precipitated a series of important changes in Maltese society, not least the arrival of polyphony across Malta’s churches. By the 17th century, the Knights and the Maltese Diocese were competing with each other to bring the best music available to their respective churches, resulting in the influx of the latest and best music the continent had to offer.
This concert traces that development from plainchant (as found in the wonderful Graduals and Antiphonaries still preserved in both the Mdina Cathedral Archives and the St John’s Co-Cathedral Archives) to the outburst of polyphony and concertato music of the Early Baroque period. The concert includes works by Crivelli, Foggia, Monteverdi, Bernardi, and many more composers found in the Mdina Cathedral Archives. The concert also includes a rare performance of Fernando de Las Infantas’ motet Congregati Sunt, written in Rome in 1565 during the Great Siege as a prayer for the deliverance of Malta from the Ottoman invasion. The concert will also put the music in its historical context with a series of interjections in between the musical items.