Choral at Cadogan 2019/20

Choral at Cadogan 2019/20

Productions

2 October 2019 : The Tallis Scholars

Photo: Nick Rutter

The Tallis Scholars open the 2019–20 Choral at Cadogan series with a performance of rarely heard Palestrina. The music in this programme is written for an unusual mix of voices, and Choral at Cadogan offers the perfect showcase for such extraordinary choral writing.

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3 December 2019 : Westminster Cathedral Choir

Founded in 1901, the world-famous Westminster Cathedral Choir has an international reputation for superb music-making and is unique in its daily performances of Renaissance polyphony and plainsong at Westminster Cathedral.

This programme presents a mixture of the choir’s traditional Advent repertoire with some contemporary Christmas favourites, along with the world premiere of a motet by Joanna Marsh, all centred on the text O magnum mysterium: a musical expression of the mystery of the incarnation – the arrival of Christ in the calm silence of the night.

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16 December 2019 : The Sixteen at Christmas

The Sixteen’s Christmas 2019 programme features Britten’s hugely popular A Ceremony of Carols. This masterful and unique work continues to be a staple of the choral canon and is an example of Britten’s genius.

The rest of the programme combines traditional Medieval carol tunes upon which so much Christmas music has been based, contrasted with more modern delights including Warlock’s Corpus Christi and Walton’s festive Make we joy now in this fest.

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18 February 2020 : Cupertinos

Founded in 2009, Cupertinos have established themselves as true ambassadors of Portuguese polyphony. Fresh and untamed in character, their performances showcase Iberian passion and a distinctly Portuguese essence. Experience the richness of 16th- and 17th-century Portuguese polyphony in this programme that provides a panoramic view of the poignant liturgies of Lent and of the Dead.

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26 March 2020 : Danish National Vocal Ensemble

The Danish National Vocal Ensemble, highly acclaimed for its pure, transparent Nordic sound, presents a broad cross-section of Danish music in this concert. They explore the nation’s great choral tradition from the time of Christian IV’s rule in the 16th century, via Carl Nielsen, the father-figure of modern Danish music, to music of the present day.

Framing the programme are choral masterworks by J.S. Bach: three glorious motets serving as a reminder that one of the most influential composers on Bach was another Dane, the great 17th-century organist Dietrich Buxtehude.

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29 April 2020 : The Cardinall’s Musick

A beautiful programme which sets 16th-century polyphony alongside contemporary minimalism. The mystical minimalists John Tavener and Arvo Pärt are as immersed in their religious feelings as William Byrd and Orlando Gibbons yet they come from very different traditions. Byrd’s dark-toned Mass for four voices inspired by Catholic devotion is set against Gibbons’ more suave and energetic Anglican writing.

Tavener and Arvo Pärt instead look to the Orthodox traditions of the East. These contemporary writers use a direct and powerful approach, ikon-like in its seeming simplicity but immensely powerful.

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21 May 2020 : The Gesualdo Six

Photo: Ash Mills

Trace the evolution of the madrigal from Claudio Monteverdi to György Ligeti in this entrancing programme.

Monteverdi led the way in a new expressive style of composition, emphasising words just as much as harmonies – and breaking the rules as he went. Palestrina, Gesualdo and Marenzio feature alongside several works of the Il Trionfo di Dori, a collection of madrigals composed in honour of the wife of a Venetian nobleman.

Ligeti’s Nonsense Madrigals parody earlier madrigals by using old compositional techniques as vehicles for humorous portrayals of texts from children’s literature by Lewis Carroll and William Brighty Rands.

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18 June 2020 : The Tallis Scholars

Photo: Nick Rutter

Thomas Tallis’ epic motet Spem in alium remains one of the most astonishing creations of the human mind. There is a theory that it was first performed in 1570, making 2020 the 450th anniversary of that event. True or not, one hardly needs a special reason for presenting Spem in alium.

Surrounding it with more music by Thomas Tallis gives us an opportunity to understand just how versatile he was. Big and small, Catholic and Protestant, he excelled in every genre, influencing all the English musicians of his time, and for generations to come.

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