'I am delighted to introduce Choral at Cadogan as we go into our eighth season. The series has grown from strength to strength over recent years and consistently presents some of the UK and Europe’s finest vocal groups. It is a huge honour for me to welcome these groups to the series.'
Peter Phillips, Artistic Director
22 October 2015: The Tallis Scholars
Photo: Eric Richmond
Sacred music in the Vernacular
One of the by-products of specialising in renaissance sacred music is that we spend our lives working with a language none of us speaks – Latin. It is an unusual pleasure for us to sing a whole programme in vernacular languages – and to do so inevitably led us to the leading Protestant traditions: Byrd and Gibbons from the English; Schütz and Bach from the German. To these composers we have added four pieces by John Rutter.
11 December 2015: The Choir of Magdalen College, Oxford
Celebrating Advent, the time the church looks forward to the joy and excitement of Christmas, the Choir of Magdalen College, Oxford take the Blessed Virgin Mary as a focal point in the opening of their programme. Two settings of the plainchant hymn, Ave Maris Stella are set side by side — a hymn numerous Renaissance composers set to more elaborate polyphony.
French choral music of penance and praise from the twelfth to the twentieth centuries. The wide appeal of the a cappella choral writing of French composers such as Poulenc, de Séverac and Messiaen owes as much to their use of austere textures and disciplined techniques as to the refined, Gallic sensuousness which appeals so directly to the heart.
Here Alamire explores the finest works in the Songbook by some of the greatest composers of the early 16th century, including Compère, Brumel, Mouton, and Josquin. Performances by Alamire are interspersed with French chansons and instrumental items for lute, harp and voice.
The title of this varied programme is taken from Gibbons’ ineffable The Silver Swan, to which I invited Matthew Martin to add a pendant in 2013. Since then I also asked him to write a set of Lamentations, which will be receiving its world premiere tonight. In addition Nico Muhly’s Lamentations were commissioned by the Lincoln Center in New York for us — so there is a small tradition going there.
With this programme we have the opportunity to perform some of my favourite a cappella works from the Great English Renaissance, arguably, the Golden Age of British Music. ‘Light’ in the context of this programme is reflected in the themes of birth, new beginning, day and joyfulness. ‘Shadow’, on the other hand, will see us singing about the more solemn, but no less rich subjects of death, ending and night.
The Tallis Scholars will once again perform two programmes, the first of which presents an entire programme of non-Latin works, which is unusual for us. This programme also celebrates John Rutter’s 70th birthday with performances of some of his lesser known choral works. Our second programme this season is rather sorrowful and features Lamentations by Tallis, Muhly & Phinot. We are also excited to premiere a set written for us by Matthew Martin.
It is a pleasure to welcome Daniel Hyde and the choir of Magdalen College Oxford to the series for the first time in this year’s Christmas concert, whose programme includes the festive Vaughan Williams Fantasia on Christmas Carols. The Sixteen will present a programme focusing on the relationship between the Virgin Mother and Child, contrasting masterpieces from the early Renaissance with some of today’s most admired contemporary choral composers, including Gabriel Jackson and James Macmillan.
Formidable British groups Tenebrae and Alamire, led by Nigel Short and David Skinner respectively, will both return this season to present contrasting programmes of French music. Tenebrae will perform extracts from Brumel’s choral masterpiece the Earthquake Mass along with Saint-Saëns motets, and chansons by Poulenc and Ravel. Alamire’s programme includes some of the finest music from Anne Boleyn’s Songbook interspersed with other motets and chansons by the greatest French composers of the time.
And last but not least we welcome Vox Luminis and their director Lionel Meunier with an English programme based on light (birth, day) and shadow (death, night) at the time of Elizabeth I, arguably the golden age of British Music.
I look forward to welcoming you to another year of wonderful choral music here at Cadogan Hall.
Peter Phillips, Artistic Director
For further information and to book tickets for any of these concerts, visit Cadogan Hall