Last night, I had the opportunity to attend a concert of The Tallis Scholars. To be honest, I’d never really heard of them till this past year. Now I’m wondering, “How in the world did I ever get on without this choir?”
Anyway. We all make our way down to Cadogan Hall just off of Sloane Square, which is a church that’s been converted into a concert hall. As a hall, it was beautiful, but had an acoustic that was dryer than the space I was expected. For a concert hall, it was great, but with Renaissance, especially sacred Renaissance, you expect it in a large, wetter space.
Their program was a whole night of Italian composers from the high Renaissance, some familiar, other completely new. I also must admit, sometimes, with a long string of early music, I start to get a wee bit bored. I was worried that I would start to get bored out of my mind.
When they walked on stage, there was this palpable energy in the room. Peter Philips walked on stage. After the applause, he gave the downbeat for Surge Illuminare by Palestrina. It completely took my breathe away. The boldness of the sound with great balance and almost perfect intonation. The work is a real zinger. I was riveted the rest of the evening.
They went on to sing the Pope Marcellus Mass by Palestrina, along with other words by Croce, Gabrieli, Phinot & Festa. One highlight (out of an incredible night) would have been the “Quam pulchra es” by Festa. Such a tender and beautiful piece for upper voices. It really was incredible. I can hardly express what it was really like. I never felt a single moment of boredom.
After giving them a standing ovation (very rare for me) they sang an encore by de Lassus for Epiphany that I’d never heard of. It was quite the piece, so I’ll need to find out what it was.
Today, after Evensong at St. Paul’s Cathedral, I had the opportunity to just get on a bus and go down Fleet street to Charing Cross then on to Trafalgar Square then over to Piccadilly Circus. What a great city! I LOVE this town! I went into HMV and bought four CDs for £25. It was a steal.
Tomorrow night we’ll be with the Harry Christopher and The Sixteen. We’ll get to sit on a rehearsal and maybe even ask a question or two.
Composing is officially on hold (mainly ’cause I can’t find a piano to use).