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P a s t   C o n c e r t s

Season 2014-15

The Ascent of the Soul

Sacred Music by Avila’s celebrated sons, Victoria and Morales

Saturday 11th July 2015 - 7:30pm

St George's, Bloomsbury, WC1A 2SA


Director: David Allinson


Spanish Renaissance polyphony is often described as ‘mystical’ – in contrast to the cooler, more ‘objective’ beauty of the music of Palestrina. If one city might be considered the crucible of Spanish mysticism, it is Avila, ‘town of Stones and Saints’.


Sitting high in a rocky wilderness in central Spain, it was the birthplace of Saint Teresa, mystic and reformer, whose 500th anniversary was celebrated in 2015. During the 16th century its cathedral was a centre of musical excellence, employing superb organists and composers.


In this concert we celebrated the music of two Spaniards who came to dominate the European musical scene, but whose music is infused with the spirit of Avila: Cristobál de Morales (maestro de capilla at the cathedral, 1526-28) and Tomás Luis de Victoria, who learned the craft of composition there as a choirboy.


Works performed included Victoria - Missa Gaudeamus and Morales - Jubilate Deo

Magna Carta concert

Celebrating 800 years of the Magna Carta

Saturday 16th May 2015 - 7:30pm

The Church of St Peter & St Paul, Clare, Suffolk


Director: David Allinson


The Society for Music in Clare Church (SMICC) hired The Renaissance Singers to perform a concert covering 800 years of choral music, with works representing the fifteenth year of each century, starting with Gregorian Chant and finishing with a piece composed in 2015.

The Master's Apprentice

Cipriano de Rore (1515–1565) and the influence of Josquin des Prez

Saturday 14th March 2015 - 7:30pm

St George's, Bloomsbury, WC1A 2HR


Director: David Allinson


The inspired, poignant and powerful sacred music of Cipiano de Rore is infused with the spirit of his predecessor Josquin. He frequently paid tribute to the Flemish master by referencing and reworking Josquin’s music to rhapsodic and rhetorical effect. 


In his secular music, de Rore was the greatest innovator of the mid-16th century: his chansons are suavely emotional and his madrigals are vivid and startling. Monteverdi regarded him as the originator of the seconda prattica. 


2015 marked the 500th anniversary of de Rore’s birth – and the 450th anniversary of his death. To mark the occasion we performed his powerful madrigals and chansons – plus motets and music for the Mass, along with the Josquin ‘originals’ that inspired them.

A Tudor Christmas

Seasonal Sheppard at 500

Saturday 20th December 2014 - 7:30pm

St George's, Bloomsbury, WC1A 2HR


Director: David Allinson


When like is compared with like, there is little doubt that Sheppard is an Olympian figure of mid-sixteenth-century polyphony. – David Wulstan


An exuberant programme of seasonal polyphony, crowned by Sheppard’s most thrilling mass setting, the Missa Cantate. Almost certainly written in the mid-1550s, around the same time as Tallis’s Missa Puer natus, Sheppard keeps six voices in play, combining the textural richness and rhythmic verve of predecessors such as Taverner and Fayrfax with a more modern sense of motivic cogency and harmonic drive. 


The Mass was interspersed with Tudor polyphony for Advent and Christmas by Lambe, Tallis and Byrd.

O What Evil Is War

War and Peace in 17th Century Germany

Saturday 25th October 2014 - 7:30pm

St George's, Bloomsbury, WC1A 2HR


Guest Director: Gawain Glenton


A concert of music written during the Thirty Years War, composed by German-speaking musicians directly affected by the international conflict that devastated large parts of central Europe between 1618 and 1648. Then as now, anti-war sentiment found an outlet in music, with beautifully poignant songs of loss, anguish and thanksgiving for peace being set to music by composers such as Heinrich Schütz, Melchior Franck, Heinrich Albert and Sigmund Theophil Staden. As we commemorated the centenary of the outbreak of World War I this concert reminded us that the brutality of war - and the simple human response to it - remains unchanged from that day to this.

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