Crowd-funding for Brighton early-music project

Brighton Early Music Festival is crowd-funding to make its multimedia Gaia project a reality.

Thursday, 1st September 2016, 10:45 am
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 2:48 am

Co-artistic director Clare Norburn said: “Here at Brighton Early Music Festival we like to tackle an ambitious project or two. This year’s biggest project is Gaia, a multimedia extravaganza which will be performed in St Bartholomew’s Church on November 12. Gaia tells the story of the earth, from the core to the skies, and is a brand-new BREMF production involving both the BREMF Consort of Voices and the BREMF Community Choir, as well as professional performers well-known to BREMF audiences including the English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble. 150 performers will perform music by Brumel, Monteverdi and others, alongside specially-commissioned film, dance and yoga. Projects like this are expensive to stage and we need to raise £10,000 to make Gaia a reality. We are thrilled that a group of generous donors have promised us £5,000 if BREMF can raise a further £5,000 through our Gaia Appeal. The great news is that we’ve already raised almost £1,500 of our £5,000 target through online donations, as well as a number of offline donations too. Gaia is a modern take on the intermedi of the 16th century. Intermedi were major music and drama spectacular shows with special theatrical machinery effects, the most famous of which wowed the Medici court in 1589 as part of the most expensive wedding celebrations of all time!

“We’re bringing together music and drama from the 16th and 17th centuries with a very 21st-century alternative to the impressive stage machinery of the original intermedi. Instead of planets and stars operated by pulleys we’re using film, projections, lighting effects, mime, yoga and dance to tell the story of our Earth and how humans have perceived it through the ages. The music includes extracts from Antoine Brumel’s earth-shattering Earthquake Mass and from Monteverdi’s Orfeo to beautiful pastoral madrigals and motets celebrating the Queen of Heaven.

“The particularly-exciting thing about Gaia is that as well as professional performers such as the English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble it also involves local singers from the BREMF Consort of Voices and the BREMF Community Choir. The Community Choir is a vibrant, non-auditioned choir in the best traditional of community music-making, which specialises in the wealth of beautiful music written before 1800. Gaia is an ambitious project, which will increase the festival’s budget for 2016. As a small charity which has to start each year’s fundraising from scratch in an increasingly-difficult financial climate, we need to attract support from a variety of sources in order to be successful.”