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Join the British Museum for a free concert honoring St. Thomas Becket


Fr Lawrence Lew, O.P. | Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Joanne McPortland - published on 07/29/21

Virtual lecture and performance, on YouTube July 30, recalls how medieval Europe expressed its mourning for a martyred saint in music.

When Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, was assassinated by soldiers of King Henry II 850 years ago, a wave of grief shook medieval Christendom. One way that grief found powerful expression was in music.

On July 30, you can hear that music explored and performed live at the British Museum, through a free event on the museum’s YouTube channel. “The Musical World of Thomas Becket” will feature lecture and discussion from Professor Emma Dillon and Dr. Katherine Emery, both of King’s College London. The Trouvere Collective, led by Matthew O’Keefee, will present a recital filmed in the British Museum’s Enlightenment Gallery.

The music, primarily vocal, will include pieces composed to honor St. Thomas Becket. Selections will be linked visually to objects in the British Museum’s current exhibition, “Thomas Becket: Murder and the Making of a Saint,” which remains on view in London until August.

On the program are Latin chants and motets addressing Becket’s murder, as well as “St. Thomas honor we,” a carol in English intended to deepen devotion to the saint whose tomb became one of the most popular pilgrimage sites of the Middle Ages,

To watch live, visit the YouTube Events channel of the British Museum on Friday, July 30, at 7 p.m. BST (2 p.m. EDT). The program is expected to last about an hour, and is free of charge, though donations are welcome.

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