Canty, Scotland’s only professional Medieval music group, was formed by Rebecca Tavener in 1998, the 900th anniversary of the birth of Hildegard of Bingen, and it comprises the regular female singers with Cappella Nova, Scotland’s leading early music vocal ensemble. As individuals, the singers bring to the group a wealth of experience, both as soloists and as members of other distinguished ensembles. Together with regular collaborator, harpist William Taylor, they explore a unique repertoire combining Medieval music and contemporary works written specially for them. Their first CD Wings of Wisdom
, featuring chant by Hildegard von Bingen and from medieval Scotland, was released on the Dorian label. Flame of Ireland
(Sanctuary Gaudeamus) was their second recording and it features world premiere recordings of 15th century Irish chant for St Brigit of Kildare. Their third disc, Felix Femina
– medieval Scottish polyphony (Sanctuary Gaudeamus) was described by Andrew McGregor as having a ‘transcendental quality that absolutely suits the music’ (CD Review, BBC Radio 3
). A fourth CD, Apostle of Ireland
, featuring premiere recordings of Medieval Irish chant for St Patrick, was released on the Divine Art label in March 2008.
Canty has appeared in many distinguished festivals and venues at home and abroad, including the Edinburgh Festival, Galway Early Music Festival, Spitalfields Festival, Edinburgh International Harp Festival, the International Celtic Congress (Bonn) and the National Centre for Early Music in York. Canty has made the commissioning of new music central to its work, and composers such as John Tavener, James MacMillan and Gabriel Jackson are among the many who have already dedicated new works to the group. Their most recent recording Carmina Celtica (Linn CKD 378) for Linn Records, a collection of world-premiere recordings of medieval and contemporary spiritual songs, has been well-received.