Cambridge Renaissance Voices with Concordia

Church of St Cross

19th May 2018 7.30 PM - 19th May 2018 Event Type: Concert

Music for Voices and Viols, from Dowland to Purcell. Cambridge Renaissance Voices (director Rupert Preston Bell) with Concordia.

Cambridge Renaissance Voices join forces with the viol consort Concordia to explore a rich repertoire of English music from the 17th century.  This was the golden age of consort music, where voices and viols were used interchangeably or together.  Viol consorts were central to domestic music-making, in part-songs or madrigals equally suited to string players or singers.  A parallel tradition developed in relation to church music; for over a hundred years, English composers explored the fascination of vocally inspired instrumental polyphony by writing ‘In nomines’ for viol consort, weaving elaborate instrumental lines around a musical theme taken from the Tudor composer John Taverner’s mass on the plainchant ‘Gloria Tibi Trinitas’.  Voices and viols came together in the verse anthem, whose greatest Jacobean exponents included Orlando Gibbons and Thomas Tomkins.  The music of Henry Purcell represents in many ways the culmination of this rich tradition.  While his anthems straddle the musical styles of the late Renaissance and a more dramatic idiom signalling the early Baroque, Purcell’s viol Fantasias look back to an earlier age, bringing to an old instrumental form a dazzling complexity and musical beauty.

Cambridge Renaissance Voices - hailed by Early Music Review for ‘beautifully controlled… assured and expressive’ performances, informed by ‘understanding and passion’ - was formed in 2013 under the musical direction of Rupert Preston Bell.  It brings together singers drawn mainly from The Cambridge Taverner Choir, with whom they have made a series of recordings of sacred polyphony, and were shortlisted for the Gramophone Early Music Award.

Concordia has established itself among the foremost viol consorts in Britain.  Their international reputation rests on a series of recordings, ranging across the English consort repertoire, from Byrd and Dowland to Gibbons and Purcell, and collaborating with renowned vocal artists including Robin Blaze and the King’s Singers.

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