Cambridge's male-voice early music ensemble

Applause in Ávila

De Profundis has just returned from appearances at the 2023 Tomás Luis de Victoria Festival in Ávila, Spain. This is a festival that celebrates music associated with Ávila Cathedral. Most of our discography (Ribera, Vivanco, and Morales) is strongly associated with that building, so we were very happy to accept the invitation.

Our first concert was held at the Real Monasterio de Santo Tomás on 3rd December. We performed William Byrd’s 4-part Mass as well as three Advent and Christmas motets by Morales, who had been choirmaster at Ávila Cathedral in the 1520s. The full capacity audience was very appreciative, and we made an appearance on local news.

On the following night at El Episcopio there was a presentation highlighting the Morales Project, and in particular the acclaimed first disc in the series. Our founder, Mark Dourish, gave a speech (in Spanish, he is keen to point out) describing De Profundis, its origins, and the Project. Then Robert Hollingworth spoke (in Spanish that Mark emphasises was not quite as good as his), explaining how polyphony works, with musical examples and excerpts performed by members of the group.

The following day the second concert took place in Ávila Cathedral to another capacity audience. The main work was Morales’s very rarely heard Missa L’homme armé for 4 voices (which will make its appearance on the third album of the Morales series), alongside motets for Advent and Christmas by Morales and Victoria. It was a great and moving performance, and after a standing ovation we were called back for two encores: Tallis’ If Ye Love Me and Pastores dicite by Morales.

We wrapped up the tour with a very enjoyable dinner of local delicacies, including the famous Chuletón de Ávila, before bidding a fond farewell to the city very early the next morning.