The Tallis Scholars and Artistic Director Peter Phillips open and close the series with a programme exploring rarely performed repertoire by Palestrina and Thomas Tallis’ epic motet Spem in alium
Westminster Cathedral Choir perform the world premiere of a motet by Joanna Marsh, centred on the text O magnum mysterium
The Sixteen and Harry Christophers return to Cadogan Hall for an evening of carols and seasonal choral music
Cupertinos and Danish National Vocal Ensemble make their UK debuts with programmes of Portuguese polyphony and Danish music exploring the nation’s great choral tradition
The Cardinall’s Musick perform repertoire which sets 16th-century polyphony alongside contemporary mystic minimalism
The Gesualdo Six present Flower of the Italian Madrigal, a programme with music tracing the evolution of the madrigal from Claudio Monteverdi to György Ligeti
Cadogan Hall presents its twelfth ‘Choral at Cadogan’ series which returns from October 2019 to June 2020 with eight concerts given by renowned vocal ensembles including The Tallis Scholars, The Sixteen and The Cardinall’s Musick. As part of the series, two highly acclaimed international groups will give their UK debuts including: Cupertinos from Portugal who perform the rich wonders of 16th and 17th-century Portuguese polyphony and the Danish National Vocal Ensemble showcasing exquisite and rarely performed traditional Danish works. Westminster Cathedral Choir perform music to celebrate Advent by composers from Tallis to Eric Whitacre. The Gesualdo Six make a welcome return to the series with a programme of madrigals from Claudio Monteverdi to György Ligeti. The Tallis Scholars conclude the series with an opportunity to hear one of the most astonishing creations of the human mind, Thomas Tallis’ Spem in alium.
The series opens on 2 October 2019 with The Tallis Scholars led by Artistic Director Peter Phillips with a stunning collection of works by Palestrina. Choral at Cadogan gives a perfect opportunity for the choir to perform an extraordinary programme of rarely heard Palestrina masterpieces written for an unusual mix of voices. The Missa Ave Maria regarded as one of his greatest but less widely known works opens the concert, whilst Dum complerentur and Magnificat tertii toni are also performed. Works by composers including Gallus, Byrd and de Morales complete the programme.
On 3 December 2019, Westminster Cathedral Choir directed by Martin Baker perform a programme including 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 night. Founded in 1901, the internationally renowned choir is famous for its unique daily performances of Renaissance polyphony and plainsong at Westminster Cathedral. This performance presents a mixture of the choir’s traditional Advent repertoire alongside some contemporary Christmas favourites.
As part of its Christmas 2019 tour, The Sixteen’s festive programme features Britten’s hugely popular A Ceremony of Carols on 16 & 17 December 2019, with conductor Harry Christophers. This masterful and unique work continues to be a staple of the choral canon and is an example of Britten’s genius. The evening also showcases 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.
Portuguese vocal ensemble Cupertinos directed by Luís Toscano makes its UK debut as part of the Choral at Cadogan series on 18 February 2020. 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. The choir perform a programme of 16th- and 17th-century Portuguese polyphony that provides a panoramic view of the poignant liturgies of Lent and of the Dead.
The series also welcomes the Danish National Vocal Ensemble for its UK debut with director Marcus Creed on 26 March 2020. As the professional chamber choir of DR, Denmark’s national broadcaster, the choir is a much-admired ensemble and celebrated for its pure and transparent Nordic sound. The programme of broad cross-section of Danish music explores the nation’s great choral tradition from the time of Christian IV’s rule in the 16th century via Carl Nielson, the father figure of modern Danish music, to music of the present day. The programme also features choral masterworks including three motets by J.S. Bach: Komm, Jesus, komm, Der Geist hilft and Jesu, meine Freude.
The Cardinall’s Musick and director Andrew Carwood perform as part of the series on 29 April 2020, with a programme which sets 16th-century polyphony alongside contemporary minimalism. Mystic 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.
Vocal consort The Gesualdo Six and director Owain Park perform on 21 May 2020, with an entrancing programme that traces the evolution of the madrigal from Claudio Monteverdi to György Ligeti. 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.
The Tallis Scholars once again close the series on 18 June 2020, with a performance of Thomas Tallis’ epic motet Spem in alium which remains one of the most astonishing creations of the human mind. The programme is surrounded with more music by Thomas Tallis including Loquebantur variis linguis, Miserere nostri and If ye love me to demonstrate just how versatile he was in his approach to composition. Big and small, Catholic and Protestant, he excelled in every genre, influencing all the English musicians of his time, and for generations to come.