Chapel Perilous exists to provide immersive and subversive music experiences and debuted as part of the inaugural Muswell Hill Music Festival in 2019.
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.
Our music project, taking inspiration from this history, exists to nurture new concepts and provide meditative and immersive experiences for live and online audiences.
It was at this precise location in Firenze that Girolamo Savonarola was hanged and burnt by a mob in 1498. A divisive figure, Savonarola left a complicated legacy.
Imprisoned nearby in the days leading up to his death, he wrote two reflections on psalms, including Infelix Ego, a meditation on Psalm 51: the famous Miserere Mei, Deus.
Infelix Ego became a famous text across Europe and Savonarola’s texts and the pslams that inspired him were set to music throughout the sixteenth century and beyond.
Amiens’ huge Cathedral was so close to the trenches and front-line during WW1 that it was hit by shelling 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, which lies about an hour’s drive east of Amiens. Jones’ masterwork, the epic poem ‘In Parenthesis’ traces a path that culminates at the battle of Mametz wood.
Arvo Pärt lives and works in the beautiful wooded surroundings of 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.
His music is performed in the large concert hall in the heart of the centre.
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.
One of the great theological minds of the 20th Century, Bonhoeffer was murdered in a Nazi concentration camp in April 1945.
From his prison cell in Berlin in the closing years of World War 2 he wrote a series of Letters and Papers which have come to define his writings.
An hours’ meditation, with chamber works by Arvo Pärt and John Tavener, alongside works Giacinto Scelsi and Hildegard von Bingen.
Times of Distress
Photos © Guy James