The week ahead: Monteverdi and Muhly

Nico Muhly

Monteverdi in Sherborne Abbey tonight, and then our concert in Nico Muhly’s weekend at the Barbican, A Scream and an Outrage.  Our event is at LSO St Luke’s next Sunday morning: returns only, I am afraid, but other concerts during the weekend are worth exploring. Nico has a great love of English church music, and his eclecticism is demonstrated by the great line-up of artists assembled for the weekend, which,as well as us, includes Bang on a Can All-Stars, BBC Singers, BBC SO, Britten Sinfonia, David Lang, Joby Talbot, Julia Wolfe, Pekka Kuusisto, Philip Glass, So Percussion, and Trio Mediaeval. The Scream and an Outrage microsite is here and read Fiona Maddocks’ interview with Nico in The Observer here.


Radio update

BBC Radio 3

Voices of Classic FM

A tremendous week of radio coverage on the two national classical stations in the UK, all available on various catch-up sites (although for rights reasons, not all programmes are available in all territories).

BBC Radio 3′s CD Review covered our new Palestrina release last Saturday (on the iPlayer here until tomorrow morning, about 10 minutes into the programme); our Monteverdi concert on Monday was broadcast live by the BBC (available here); Classic FM exclusively previewed our new recording of Allegri’s Miserere on Tuesday morning (available here at 02:28:40). Later the same day, back on BBC Radio 3, there was more coverage of Palestrina Volume 3 in the lead up to our 2013 Choral Pilgrimage: hear Sean Rafferty on In Tune (at 01:56:00).

I am also pleased to give advance notice of The Choir on BBC Radio 3 on Sunday 24 February at 17.00, when Harry Christophers presents an in-depth programme about three of his favourite composers: Victoria, Poulenc and MacMillan.  More details nearer the time!



Wigmore Hall to the Anvil

Harry Christophers and the Sixteen

Apart from (!) recording two CDs in London during January, we have had a fairly quiet start to the year.  From tomorrow, when rehearsals for our next project take place, all that begins to change.

On Monday evening we make a long-awaited return to the Wigmore Hall with a Monteverdi programme.

Monteverdi’s monumental collection of sacred vocal works, published in Venice in 1640 and 1641 as Selva morale e spirituale, stands among the great treasures of baroque music. This concert includes the spectacular motet Beatus vir, an uplifting Gloria, and two mighty settings of Psalm 109, Dixit Dominus, for eight voices and instruments.

The concert is sold out (you could try +44 (0)20 7935 2141 for returns), but it is being broadcast live on BBC Radio 3. The first two CDs in our Monteverdi CD series are available from our shop.

Next Wednesday, we give our ever-popular Immortal Legacy programme at the Anvil in Basingstoke: tickets can be purchased here.


Monteverdi in Chipping Campden

The violins and continuo team

Emily has just sent me these photos of the rehearsal for tonight’s concert in St James’ Church in Chipping Campden, where we are performing more of Monteverdi’s Selva Morale e Spirituale in the music festival there.  Full details of the programme are here.

The concert rounds off another busy week, which included our Choral Pilgrimage visit to Greenwich, a reception to mark the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Representative Office of the Government of Flanders in London, and the RPS Awards.

The broadcast on BBC Radio 3 of the latter – featuring Kirsty, Katy, David, Sam and Greg – was earlier this afternoon, and can be heard for the next seven days on the iPlayer


Renaissance Acoustics

Claudio Monteverdi

Having attended our concert of Monteverdi in Temple Church inLondon last night (you can hear the BBC Radio 3 broadcast here), and reflecting on the fact that some 75% of our concerts are given in cathedrals, abbeys or churches, I was intrigued to see an article on Renaissance Acoustics on the Gates Cambridge Scholarships website.  Braxton Boren and Prof. Malcom Longair have been investigating the question: ‘What would the works of great Renaissance composers like Monteverdi, Willaert and Gabrieli have sounded like when they were heard for the first time?’ You can see their conclusions and coverage in the scientific press here. And you can listen to some of their results on  this Web site by scrolling to the bottom of the page. The top button plays a recording of polyphonic music as it would sound in an echoless chamber; the middle recording is of polyphonic music as it would sound in the empty Basilica of San Marco; and the bottom one is of polyphonic music in the basilica during a festival, as predicted by Boren and Longair’s computer model.

Intriguing stuff.  Harry in particular obviously spends alot of time considering the effect of acoustics on our concerts and recordings: Ely Cathedral, for example, seems to have nodes whereby the sound is perfect only for every tenth row or so, whereas Peterborough Cathedral has a crystal-clear acoustic throughout the nave. And often, an acoustic which seems very dry for the singers, is actually warm and mellow for the audience.