Literally meaning ‘rooster song’ or ‘cock crow’, Gallicantus takes its name from monastic antiquity; the name of the office held just before dawn, it was a ceremony which evoked the renewal of life offered by the coming day. Dedicated to renaissance music and directed by Gabriel Crouch, the membership of this early music group boasts a wealth of experience in consort singing.
The group is bound by a shared love of communicating text, and creates performances which draw out unifying themes within apparently diverse repertoire; to this end they are as meticulous about providing context and insight for audiences as they are about crafting interpretations of the music they love.
Recent concert highlights have seen the group perform in the UK (Wigmore Hall, Spitalfields Festival, York Early Music Festival), Germany (Essen, Maria Laach, Regensburg), Poland (Wrocław), Italy (Cremona), Belgium (Antwerp), and in the USA where they held a residency at Princeton University in 2014 giving concerts and interacting with student vocalists and composers. In the 2014/15 season concerts included a return to Princeton University as well as concerts in Utrecht (Holland), Schwetzingen (Germany), London (Temple Winter Music Festival, Chapel Royal, Palace of Westminster) and Cratfield (UK).
Gallicantus regularly releases benchmark programmes on CD on the Signum Classics label, which form the basis of their concert programmes. With Hymns, Psalms and Lamentations, dedicated to the music of Robert White, critics acclaimed an “impressive debut” (Observer) of “impassioned, exciting music” (The Times), whilst Gramophone Magazine declared: “What an outstanding disc… The opening of the Lamentations could stand as a kind of illuminated initial at the beginning of a gorgeous manuscript, so transparent and luminous is it”. Their second recording Dialogues of Sorrow – Passions on the Death of Prince Henry (1612) was described as “one of the year’s best choral releases” by TheArtsDesk.com, possessing “singing of clarity, suppleness and poignancy” (Daily Telegraph); whilst International Record Review proclaimed “...this is a well sung, intelligently produced and exhaustively researched project, which deserves great success.”
The 2012 release The Word Unspoken, featuring music by William Byrd and Philippe de Monte was equally well-received, with The Sunday Times saying “The intensity of the music is reflected in Gallicantus’s beautifully shaped performances”. It was named ‘Editor’s Choice’ in Gramophone Magazine, which noted that “The ensemble’s view is delivered with such intelligence and rhetorical persuasiveness that the cumulative weight of their Byrd, in particular, is well-nigh symphonic in effect.” The group’s fourth CD – the remarkable Lagrime di San Pietro by Lassus – has cemented Gallicantus as one of Europe’s foremost early music ensembles, earning a second consecutive ‘Editor’s Choice’ selection from Gramophone, as well as nomination for a coveted Gramophone Award in 2014.