Santiago Pilgrimage

Following the immense success of the year-long Bach Cantata Pilgrimage in 2000, the Monteverdi Choir set off for a shorter but very intense project along the Spanish pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. The programme was entirely a cappella music from Spain’s golden age, and it was performed in churches and cathedrals of outstanding beauty along the Pilgrimage route.

“It is with a great sense of anticipation that the Monteverdi Choir looks ahead to participating in the Camino de Santiago in July & August 2004 and in so doing have the opportunity to rekindle and share the experience that remains so vivid from 2000. Unlike our earlier Bach Pilgrimage, we see it as entirely possible, desirable and indeed significant that we should cover at least part of the route each day on foot. By so doing we wish to embrace fully the nature and spirit of the Camino.

From the musical point of view it seems to me important that there be a sense of structure and development to the project, so that it our journey is a musical as well as a physical and spiritual one. I believe that whilst this is not strictly a religious pilgrimage it should nonetheless identify strongly with its Christian roots. The idea of attempting to place the music in context has therefore been a source of inspiration in selecting the very best of Spanish a cappella music, to be sung in the beautiful churches along the route.

The programmes will celebrate the rich musical heritage left to us by Spanish and other European composers of the 16th & 17th centuries, also known as The Golden Age, including Victoria, Guerrero, Morales, Byrd, Tallis and L'Héritier.

This will be our 40th anniversary year, and I cannot envisage a more fitting way of celebrating this milestone than by undertaking a new musical pilgrimage, this time following the oldest and most famous of pilgrimage routes, el Camino de Santiago.”

John Eliot Gardiner
©2004