P a s t   C o n c e r t s

Vox in Rama: Lamentations by Phinot and White

7.30pm, Saturday 8 February 2020

St Mary’s, Bourne Street SW1

Directed by David Allinson

The Lamentations of Jeremiah inspired some of the most soulful polyphony ever written. Direct, dramatic settings of the verses alternate with lush vocal roulades. We present two of the greatest 16th century Lamentation settings, by Dominique Phinot and Robert White.


White’s astonishing Lamentations a5 are advanced in style for their time and feel like a despairing commentary on the religious turbulence of Elizabethan England. Phinot’s setting is equally pioneering, for the way he manages the double choir texture, starting with block textures but gradually opening up a kaleidoscopic range of subtle scoring combinations. 


These two monumental pieces will be complemented by penitential motets by composers including George Kirby (Vox in Rama), Carlo Gesualdo (O vos omnes) and William Byrd (Ne irascaris) - music that crystallises sorrow and longing but also kindles humanity, hope and consolation. 


Roma Triumphans: Palestrina, Missa Papae Marcelli and the great Marian Antiphons

Saturday 19th October 2019, 7.30pm

Venue: St. George's Bloomsbury, WC1A 2SA

Director: Dr David Allinson



Available on the door: £14  (conc. £12) 

The most famous Renaissance mass setting of all, Palestrina’s legendary setting in honour of Pope Marcellus II is, by turns, sumptuous, dramatic and serene. Rediscover the masterpiece that ’saved church music' in a programme that also includes Palestrina’s scintillating double-choir settings of the Salve Regina, Stabat Mater, Regina Coeli and Ave Regina Coelorum.

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O beata Trinitas: Renaissance music for Father, Son and Holy Ghost

Saturday 13th July 2019, 7.30pm

Venue: St. Gabriel's Pimlico, Warwick Square, SW1V 

Director: Dr David Allinson

A central tenet of Christian belief is that there is one creator, who is simultaneously Father, Son and Holy Ghost — the formulation so familiar from the Creed, and in countless prayers, that it may pass almost without a thought. The mysterious and frequently-misunderstood concept is celebrated on Trinity Sunday, one of the few major feasts in the calendar that celebrates a doctrine rather than an event or individual. In music, the concept became linked with the harmony of the major triad.


Join us for this programme of sublime mass music and motets in honour of the Trinity written during the Renaissance period, by composers from England (Tallis, Sheppard, Byrd), the low countries (Josquin, de Rore), Italy (Palestrina) and Iberia and the New World (Guerrero, Victoria, Lopez Castillas).


Miserere mei, Deus - motets of yearning and penitence

Saturday 6th April 2019, 7.30pm

Venue: St. Gabriel's Pimlico, Warwick Square, SW1V 

Director: Dr David Allinson



Available on the door - £14 / £12 (conc.)

The season of Lent has always elicited heartfelt, emotive music from composers. Our programme of penitential masterpieces is built around Josquin’s hypnotic Miserere mei Deus, almost certainly written for Holy Week devotions at the Court of Ferrara in 1504. Equally emotive are Lheritier’s warmly humane setting of Miserere mei, Domine, Gombert’s plangent Media vita and Lassus’s engrossing, rhetorical setting of Infelix ego. With other motets by Gombert, Tye, Tallis and Rore, this is a rich and varied programme of superb Lenten music, some of which may be new even to seasoned early music aficionados.


Songs of Love and Parting; My Bittersweet Valentine

Saturday 16th February 2019, 7.30pm

Venue: St. Gabriel's Pimlico, Warwick Square, SW1V 

Director: Dr David Allinson


£14 / £12 (conc.) - available on the door

As red roses wither and empty chocolate boxes are recycled, the Renaissance Singers take a wide-eyed, post-Valentine's Day tour through the ecstasies and agonies of love. With a programme mixing languages and genres, we move from suave chansons to pained madrigals and on to passionate motets setting verses from the Song of Songs.

With the UK set to leave the European Union in March 2019 (at the time of writing), the programme may take on something of a valedictory air, with music from across Renaissance Europe – Italy (Palestrina), Spain (Victoria), France and the Low Countries (Gombert, Crecquillon, Lheritier). We conclude on home territory, with a performance of perhaps the last great Tudor votive antiphon, William Mundy’s monumental Vox patris caelestis.