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Chapel Perilous exists to provide immersive and subversive music experiences


Our debut concert took place in July 2019, as part of the inaugural Muswell Hill Music Festival.

We are currently investigating opportunities for music-making during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Chapel Perilous

The term Chapel Perilous first appears in Arthurian Legend: a chapel guarded by thirty great and terrifying knights clad all in black. Sir Lancelot must enter past them, and in doing so and escaping alive, save the life of Sir Meliot, a fellow knight of the round table.

In modern-day psycology, Chapel Perilous is a term used to describe a mental state in which one cannot be sure whether one has been or is being helped or hindered by a force outside of the natural world.

There are so many ideas that don’t have a chance to progress beyond ideas. Chapel Perilous exists to nurture new concepts and provide meditative and immersive experiences for live and broadcast audiences.


Inspirations

Florence

It was at this precise location in Firenze that Girolamo Savonarola was hanged and then burnt by a mob in 1505. A divisive figure, Savonarola left a complicated legacy, that came to represent opposition to the papal status quo.

Imprisoned nearby in the days leading up to his death, he wrote two reflections on psalms, including Infelix Ego, a meditation on Psalm 51, which became a famous text across Europe and was regularly set to music by composers in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.

Amiens

Amiens’ huge Cathedral was so close to the trenches and front-line during WW1 that it was shelled on several occasions.

David Jones served in the Royal Welsh battalion and fought on the 6th day of the battle of the Somme at Mametz Wood, about an hour’s drive from Amiens, the location of the culmination of his epic poem: ‘In Parenthesis’.

Laulasmaa

Arvo Pärt lives and works in Laulasmaa in Estonia. An hour’s bus journey from Tallinn, Laulasmaa is the site of the Arvo Pärt centre, founded in 2011, where the archives of his life’s work are stored, and concerts of his music are given in the beautiful hall attached to the centre.

Severn Meadows

Ralph Vaughan-Williams, Herbert Howells and Ivor Gurney were all born in Gloucestershire.

Vaughan-Williams and Gurney both served in WW1. Gurney’s setting of Severn Meadows is one of the most evocative musical reflections from this stunning part of the world.


Projects

The Hidden Face


An hours’ meditation, with chamber works by Arvo Pärt and John Tavener, alongside works Giacinto Scelsi and Hildegard von Bingen.

July 9th, St. Michael’s Highgate.

Time of Distress


William Byrd

Dietrich Bohnhöffer

Girolamo Savonarola

David Jones


photos copyright Guy James