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About the ensemble

The specialist ensemble for 17th and 18th-century music, Cappella Fede (named in honour of Innocenzo Fede, composer and maestro di cappella at the Catholic chapel of King James II from 1686-88) were formed by Peter Leech in 2008 in response to an invitation to perform at the landmark Catholic cultural event, Held in Trust: 2008 Years of Sacred Culture.

This exhibition of unique British Catholic cultural artefacts drew huge crowds, and the concert, which took place at St Francis’ Xavier’s Church, Liverpool on 30 July, was a sell-out and received rave reviews.

An important feature of Cappella Fede's concerts is the fusion between scholarly research and dynamic, historically-informed performance. Over the last few years this has brought many revived or rediscovered musical works to the concert platform by composers such as Sebastiano Bolis, Giovanni Battista Costanzi, Niccolo Zingarelli, Pietro Alessandro Guglielmi, Antoine Selosse, Isabella Leonarda, Miguel Ferreira, Innocenzo Fede, Gottfried Finger, Giovanni Battista Draghi, Antonio Cossandi, Claude Desgranges, Matthew Locke, Fortunato Santini, Giuseppe Ottavio Pitoni and many others.



24 January 2024, 8:00pm

Basilica of San Lorenzo in Damaso, Rome

A concert marking 200 years since the death of Ercole Consalvi, Cardinal Secretary of State during the Napeolonic era. Programme to include first modern performances of sacred music by composers associated with, and well known to the Cardinal. These include Sebastiano Bolis, (c. 1750 - 1804), Pietro Alessandro Guglielmi (1728 - 1804), and Niccolo Zingarelli (1752 - 1837).  Much of this music has been transcribed and edited from archive sources in Rome and further afield.

This concert is an initiative of The Venerable English College, Rome and the Bristish Embassy to the Holy See. It concludes a symposium of guest speakers dedicated to Consalvi. The concert will recreate, for the first time since 1824, the sophisticated sound worlds of Ercole Consalvi in three church settings that he knew well: the Cathedral of Frascati that he knew as a youth; St Peter's Basilica in Rome and San Lorenzo in Damaso.

The Cardinal King_edited.jpg


Music for Henry Benedict Stuary in Rome 1740 - 1791

The music recorded on this album presents for the first time the hitherto forgotten repertoire composed by the many musicians associated with, and employed by, Cardinal Henry Benedict Stuart (1725–1807), a grandson of King James II of England and VII of Scotland, the brother of ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’, and the last in the direct line of Jacobite succession. Sitting on the cusp of the Baroque and the Classical, these pieces likewise tread a delicate path between innocence and grandeur, between charm and formality, and suggest that the Cardinal, for all his power, may have been a rather gentle man.

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Temple of Peace, Cardiff,  25 March 2022

Programme to include: Isabella Leonarda: Alma redemptoris Mater, Litanie della B.V.M, Sic ergo anima; Barbara Strozzi: Quis dabit mihi; Giovanni Battista Costanzi: Dirupisti Domine, Collocet eum

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San Giorgio in Velabro, Rome, 13 October 2019

Choral music inspired by Saint John Henry Newman's inspirational writings. The event was a celebration to mark the Canonisation of Cardinal Henry Newman


All Saints' Church, Weston-super-Mare, 29 June 2019

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All Saints' Church, Weston-super-Mare, 24 November 2019

Cappella Fede strings & Robert Court on organ accompanied Costanzi Consort in a concert of music for the feast of St Cecilia


Church of St Thomas of Canterbury, Venerable English College, Rome, 14 April 2018

A concert of music to celebrate the 900th anniversary of the birth of St Thomas of Canterbury (c. 1118 - 1170).

The programme included medieval through to baroque musical works dedicated to Becket. The concert also included a world premiere of Peter' s new work Gaudeamus omnes, which he dedicated to the English Venerable College, Rome. A live recording of Gaudeamus omnes, performed at the concert, is available at this link


Parish Church of St John the Evangelist, Taunton, 25 March 2016

Baroque masterworks for Good Friday by G.B. Pergolesi & Antonio Maria Bononcini


The Great Barn, Little Crosby, 11 October 2015

A concert reflecting some aspects of the musical sound world of the British Catholic recusant community from the late Elizabethan period, and the time of the first Spanish Armada in 1588, until the turmoil of 1688 which lead to the flight and exile of King James II.


St Mary’s College Oscott, 11 June 2015

Music for Henry Benedict Stuart in Rome (1740 - 1790). A concert of modern world premieres of glorious sacred music by Sebastiano Bolis, Giovanni Battista Costanzi, Niccolo Jommelli and other composers associated with Cardinal Henry Benedict Stuart. With the gracious sponsorship of the college, these works, including instrumental items by Carlo Tessarini, were recorded for the ensemble’s first CD, The Cardinal King globally released on Toccata Classics


St Mary’s College Oscott, 13 June 2014

The concert featured music by Richard Dering, Richard Mico, Claude Desgranges, Matthew Locke and Nicola Matteis and others, as well as the first modern performances of reconstructed music from The Great Hodge Podge, a manuscript collection derived from the recusant Blundell family of Little Crosby


Jesuit Church of the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street, Mayfair, 19 June 2014

Jesuits and Music - The Early Baroque.
The concert featured music associated with English Jesuit colleges at Liege, St Omers, and other Jesuit colleges throughout Europe during the early baroque period, and was part of celebrations marking the 400th anniversary of the founding of Heythrop College in 1614.


St Cuthbert's Chapel, Ushaw College Chapel, Durham, 29 June 2013

This concert was part of a three-day conference hosted by the centre for Catholic Studies, Durham University. This programme featured a range of Catholic music pertinent to British Catholic cultural life c.1600-1800, including the probable first modern performances of works by composers active in the circle around Cardinal Henry Benedict Stuart (1725-1807), grandson of James II, brother of Bonnie Prince Charlie and last in the direct Stuart line of succession.

Two almost completely unknown composers in particular were favoured by Cardinal Henry; Sebastiano Bolis, and Giovanni Zamboni. Alongside their delightful motets and madrigals were items by William Byrd and the first modern performance of a motet and song by the newly identified English 17th-century Jesuit composer, Thomas Kingsley.


St Francis Xavier’s Church, Hereford, 21 June 2013

This concert was part of an exciting one-day symposium dedicated to Jesuit culture. The performance featured reconstructed choruses and recitatives from a range of 17th-century Jesuit plays, including Jakob Balde’s Jephtias (1654) and Johann Kaspar Weissenbach’s Eidgnossiches Contrafeth (1673). It also included the first modern performance of the complete reconstructed recitatives from the rare Jesuit drama Sanctus Tewdricus (c.1679), excerpts from which were first performed at Liverpool in 2008. There were also motets by Felice Anerio (maestro di cappella at the Collegio dei Inglesi in the 1580s), Agostino Agazzari, a teacher at the Roman College at the turn of the 17th-century and Tomas Luis de Victoria.

A review of the conference and concert can be found at on The World is our House blog


St Francis Xavier’s Church Liverpool, 30 July 2008

A concert of music from seventeenth-century England. At Cappella Fede's first concert the ensemble immediately established a reputation for innovative programming, with several first modern performances in the concert, transcribed and edited by Peter Leech from British 17th- century sources, including a Dixit Dominus by Antonio Cossandi, a Laudate pueri Dominum by Giovanni Sebenico (organist and composer in the Catholic chapel of Catherine of Braganza) and organ pieces from the Antoine Selosse manuscript, discovered by Peter in 2004.
Other items in the programme included a rare motet by Claude Desgranges and the two surviving complete choral works by Innocenzo Fede; a Nunc dimittis and Laudate pueri Dominum, for Compline and Vespers respectively.

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