Harry Christophers, CBE and his vocal ensemble The Sixteen return to the Sydney Opera House after 3 years, with the programme The Queen of Heaven: Palestrina, Allegri, MacMillan, which features a new version of Allegri’s Miserere.
After 35 years of performing and recording, The Sixteen is recognised as one of the world’s greatest vocal ensembles. The ensemble, founded and conducted by Christophers is noted for its interpretation of early English polyphony, music from the Renaissance, Baroque and early classical repertoire and a diversity of 20th- and 21st-century music. .
Commenting on the programme, Harry Christophers says “I have decided to look at the music of three composers who, although separated by centuries, are unique in their devotion to the church. Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina is often billed as ‘The Prince of Music’ and by some ‘The Saviour of Church Music’; of course there are many great composers of the Renaissance, but Palestrina shines out for his immaculate craftsmanship and his sheer output. Today’s ‘Saviour of Church Music’ is undoubtedly James MacMillan, a composer with whom The Sixteen has had a long and empathetic association.”
“His setting of the Miserere is quite an astounding work, one which I guarantee will have you on the edge of your seat. I could not resist the opportunity to contrast MacMillan’s powerfully emotional setting with that of Gregorio Allegri. Allegri’s Miserere is the single most famous piece of sacred music ever written. However, mythology surrounds it and, in this concert, we aim to portray its evolution.”
At home in the UK The Sixteen are ‘The Voices of Classic FM’ and Associate Artists of The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester. The group promotes The Choral Pilgrimage, an annual tour of the UK’s finest cathedrals which aims to bring music back to the buildings for which it was written. The Sixteen has featured in BBC television documentaries, have a substantial discography and have toured extensively throughout the world.
The programme: The Queen of Heaven
PALESTRINA Kyrie from Missa Regina caeli/Improperium exspectavit cor meum/Stabat Mater a 8/Regina caeli a 8/Vineam meam non custodivi (from Song of Songs)/Pulchrae sunt genae tuae (from Song of Songs)/Agnus Dei I-III from Missa Regina caeli
MACMILLAN Dominus dabit benignitatem (from The Strathclyde Motets)/Videns Dominus (from The Strathclyde Motets)/O radiant dawn (from The Strathclyde Motets)/Miserere
Tickets: www.sydneyoperahouse.com or 02 9250 7777