The Sixteen’s award-winning record label, CORO, will release eleven albums across the 2018-19 season including six new recordings from the ensemble with founder and conductor Harry Christophers CBE; two from the Handel & Haydn Society of which Christophers is Artistic Director; a special 40th Anniversary Collection celebrating The Sixteen’s 40th birthday; and guest recordings from I Fagiolini and Robert Hollingworth (celebrating 500 years since Leonardo da Vinci’s death) and The Eybler Quartet, with Aisslinn Nosky.
Autumn 2018 sees the release of three new albums. A Renaissance Christmas explores a stunning selection of festive works from the Renaissance period, capturing the joy of the season from the beautiful simplicity of plainsong chants Resonemus laudibus and Veni, veni Emmanuel to the shining purity of Lassus’ polyphonic Videntes stellam Magi and Byrd’s jubilant This day Christ was born.
Released on 2 November, Star of Heaven celebrates the legacy of the Eton Choirbook which uniquely preserves some of the most spectacular music composed in Britain before the age of Purcell and Handel. Had this book not survived, dozens of superb pieces would have been irretrievably lost. The Eton Choirbook has informed and influenced scores of composers and performers for more than 500 years. This recording emphasises that legacy with the premiere of four new works by contemporary composers commissioned by the Genesis Foundation. The new works by Phillip Cooke, Marco Galvani, Joseph Phibbs, and Sir James MacMillan are all inspired by the works of Cornysh, Lambe and Wylkynson from the Eton Choirbook alongside which they sit. The album also features Stephen Hough’s exploration of faith worldwide – Hallowed - which was commissioned for The British Museum’s ‘Living with gods’ exhibition. The Genesis Foundation has to date commissioned more than 20 sacred music commissions, several by James MacMillan, for Harry Christophers and The Sixteen who have performed and recorded these new works over the past decade.
CORO’s continuing partnership with the Handel and Haydn Society sees the release of the fifth album in the celebrated Haydn Symphonies series. Released on 2 November, H+H presents one of Haydn’s early Sturm und Drang (storm and stress) symphonies – No.49 in F minor, more commonly known as ‘La Passione’ because of its dark, brooding penitential adagio and Symphony No. 87, the last of the six masterly ‘Paris’ Symphonies which displays Haydn’s astonishing craftsmanship. Completing the programme is Mozart’s elegiac and richly beautiful Sinfonia Concertante performed by H+H’s inspirational concertmaster, Aisslinn Nosky and viola player Max Mandel. This series continues with the release of Haydn: Symphonies Vol VI on 1 November 2019 which includes Symphony No. 99 and the Mass in B flat major ‘Harmoniemesse.’
On 1 February 2019, CORO releases a new intimate recording featuring five singers and nine instrumentalists from The Sixteen choir and orchestra of Handel’s pastoral opera Acis and Galatea, a work with which they have a close affinity. The soloists joining the ensemble are Jeremy Budd as Acis, Grace Davidson as Galatea, Stuart Young as Polyphemus, Mark Dobell as Damon and Simon Berridge as Coridon.
The annual Choral Pilgrimage series has become integral to The Sixteen’s programming and this year, the programme brings together music past and present, highlighting their choral journey of 40 years. The choir’s close relationship with Sir James MacMillan continues with a new commission: O virgo prudentissima, based on a fragment from the Eton Choirbook. The programme also features Tavener’s Hymn to the Mother of God & Hymn for the Dormition of the Mother of God, Sheppard’s Gloria & Agnus Dei from Cantate Mass, Eric Whitacre’s Sainte-Chapelle, Fayrfax’s Eternae laudis lilium, Gabriel Jackson’s Ave Maria and Robert Wylkynson’s monumental Salve Regina, also from the Eton Choirbook. The album will be released on 1 March 2019.
Since the CORO label launched in 2001, the brand has expanded and developed through working with many world-class musicians. CORO partners with I Fagiolini and its director Robert Hollingworth to release Leonardo da Vinci: Shaping the Invisible, marking 500 years since the death of the Renaissance master with music by Victoria, Tallis, Janequin, Howells, Rubbra and Daniel-Lesur. The album will be released on 26 April 2019.
To celebrate The Sixteen’s 40th birthday in 2019, CORO releases a special 40th Anniversary Collection on 3 May, comprising 40 tracks which have defined the ensemble over the last four decades. With personal recommendations from members both past and present, as well as members of the administrative team, this beautifully packaged album promises to be the must-have collection for all fans of choral music.
On 31 May, The Eybler Quartet, with violinist Aisslinn Nosky return to CORO Connections, the guest artist branch of the label, to release Beethoven: String Quartets from Op. 18 No. 4-6. This is their second recording of the composer’s chamber music on the label, having released the first three in March 2018.
The final two releases of the year with The Sixteen & Christophers are part of two celebrated ongoing series: the Purcell cycle continues with Songs and Odes for Charles II released on 30 August, whilst Volume 8 of their exploration of the music of Palestrina is released on 27 September.