“From Adam to Eternity…”: Centenary Celebration of Adam Kossowski

Carol: Lo, there a Rose is blooming
The First and Last
Sanctus sine nomine
Seven Letters: To the Angel of the Church in Pergamum
Viderunt omnes
Heu mihi [Ad Dominum cum tribularer]
Libera me
Carol: O come, o come Emmanuel

Tonus Peregrinus
Anthony Pitts
Readings by the Reverend Alan Walker

Reviewed by: Matthew Skelton

Reviewed: 20 December, 2005
Venue: St Benet’s Chapel, Queen Mary University of London

2005 marked the centenary of the birth of the Polish sculptor Adam Kossowski. One of his finest legacies is the series of seven sgrafito panels which grace the walls of the exquisite chapel of St Benet’s at Queen Mary University of London.

To mark this occasion, the ensemble Tonus Peregrinus, winner at the Cannes Classical Awards, and twice a recipient of Gramophone’s ‘Editor’s Choice’ for its recordings, performed a sequence of music in the chapel to an invited audience.

The programme reflected the subject of the chapel’s murals; namely, scenes from the Book of Revelation: doom and catastrophe, triumph over evil, and ecstatic praise. The music was drawn from nine centuries, including medieval sequences, plainchant, Renaissance polyphony by Byrd, and music by the choir’s director, Anthony Pitts, all exquisitely executed with a rare clarity that perfectly matched the intimate yet resonant space of the chapel. The voices were effortlessly balanced without losing their colour and individuality, producing a distinctive yet cohesive sound.

This concert was a rare chance in London to hear this uniquely accomplished choir; its expanded touring schedule for 2006 presents a welcome opportunity to enjoy further some of the finest renditions of choral music in the UK today.

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