P a s t C o n c e r t s
Echos and Shadows
The Genius of Robert Parsons
Saturday 22 October 2022, 7.30pm
St Giles in the Fields
60 St Giles High Street
London WC2H 8LG
Directed by David Allinson
The sunny setting of Ave Maria by Robert Parsons is rightly one of the best-loved motets in the Oxford Book of Tudor Anthems. Yet most of his works languish in obscurity.
In his 450th anniversary year the Renaissance Singers shine a light on Parsons, one of the great musical talents of Tudor England, whose death by drowning at the age of 36 evoked this tribute from music copyist Robert Dow: ’Parsons, you who were so great in the springtime of life, How great you would have been in the autumn, had not death intervened.‘
From the searing drama of his Responds for the Dead to the sweet warmth of his canticles for the new Anglican evensong, Parsons’ music is revealed as endlessly inspired and expressive.
Our programme sets Parsons in context with rich music for evening services by contemporaries Tallis, White, Sheppard, Mundy and Byrd on themes of sleep, light and salvation.