Brighton Consort – Champions of Early Music

Brighton Consort is a small choir that specialises in music of the Renaissance and early Baroque periods of the 16th and 17th centuries. It was founded over 50 years ago in 1971 by the doyenne of Brighton choral music, Daphne Elston (1932-2022) who included a passion for Early Music in all her other musical activities.

In 1998 Deborah Roberts took over directing the group and introduced audiences to a lot of new repertoire. She came with many years of professional experience singing soprano with The Tallis Scholars. Under her guidance Brighton Consort performed several times in the Brighton Early Music Festival (BREMF). Several of the choir’s members are also heavily involved in the running of that festival, of which Deborah is the Artistic Director.

In 2010, when Katie Thomas took over the role of Musical Director, the Brighton Consort continued to explore the wide range of 16th and 17th century a cappella repertoire, as well as works by 20th and 21st century composers such as Poulenc, Lauridsen and Stravinsky.

In 2016 James Dixon became the Musical Director and the choir collaborated with several professional performers such as Ensemble Reza, the Paul Nieman Brass Ensemble, Gwendolen Martin and Jamie Akers, Nicholas Houghton and Thomas Allery.

Greg Skidmore

Greg Skidmore

The current Musical Director, Greg Skidmore, took over in August 2021, although he had sung with the choir as a student over from Canada. He too has sung with The Tallis Scholars as well as The Sixteen, The Cardinall’s Musick, I Fagiolini and many other ensembles, the best British and European polyphonic choirs. His latest programme with Brighton Consort is of early choral music entitled “Double or Nothing – Renaissance music for double choir”.

Among the many fascinating innovations in choral composition that took place during the 16th and 17th centuries, one of the most striking was the development of music written for two separate choirs. Many skilled composers of the period wrote musical lines for two groups of singers that swirl and interweave in quite complex ways, but at times come together to act like blocks or pillars. In their concert, Brighton Consort will present music by Allegri, Palestrina, Victoria, Monteverdi and others – all written in this compelling way for at least eight separate voice parts.

For full details of the performances of this fascinating music click here.

15 January 2024
Andrew Connal

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