The Aberdeen Bach Choir will performLo Sposalizio at St Machar’s cathedral on 29th April at 7.45pm. The choir will be accompanied by His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts, a world-leading brass ensemble, renowned for their Renaissance and Baroque performances.
Lo Sposalizio del Mare, or the Marriage of the Sea was an ancient ceremony which used to symbolise the maritime domination of Venice. It took the form of a solemn procession of boats, headed by the Doge's lavish ship, out to sea by the port on the Lido. In 1177 Pope Alexander III drew a ring from his finger and bade the Doge cast a ring into the sea each year on Ascension Day, and in so doing, wed the sea symbolically to the city. The gesture was thought to keep sea-farers safe for the coming year.The ceremony of the Marriage of the Sea continues to this day.
The Aberdeen Bach Choir’s concert is an attempt at a musical reconstruction of Lo Sposalizio as it might have sounded in the 1630s. The first half will consist of madrigals and sacred music by Giovanni and Andrea Gabrieli, as would have been played and sung on the water during the procession of boats, and the second half will be a reconstruction of the church service held afterwards in the church of San Nicolo, on the Lido.