Binchois Consort

‘A Coronation for the Virgin: Midlands Alabaster and Music in Late Medieval England’


Sunday 20 November, 7.30 pm

with a pre-concert talk at 6.30 pm


The Barber Institute of Fine Arts

Edgbaston Park Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TS

BEMF is delighted to present the Birmingham début of this award-winning Hyperion-label ensemble, and of its director, Andrew Kirkman, who takes over as Barber Professor of Music in Autumn 2012. This newly-devised programme is inspired by the beautiful Midlands alabaster sculpture in the Barber Institute, ‘The Coronation of the Virgin’. Fashioned from stone quarried in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, the sculptures functioned as the focus of religious devotion, the power of the prayers often being enhanced by being set to glorious music.

There will a pre-concert talk about the sculpture by Robert Wenley, Deputy Director of the Barber, and Head of Collections:

‘The Barber Institute’s Coronation of the Virgin and English Medieval Alabasters’

Carved alabaster panels with religious imagery were one of England’s greatest exports during the late medieval period. They were shipped to Europe in huge quantities from various Midlands workshops during the 14th and 15th centuries. The Barber Institute is fortunate to possess a particularly large and fine single panel, representing the Coronation of the Virgin, still with traces of paint and gilding. It probably originally formed the central element of an imposing altarpiece, flanked by figures of the Apostles. This short talk will discuss the masterpiece and provide a sense of its cultural context.

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