- The Choral Pilgrimage 2018 tour focuses on music by William Cornysh and Benjamin Britten
- Eight performances of Vivaldi’s Gloria around the UK by The Sixteen and its own period instrument orchestra
- The Sixteen’s Wigmore Hall Residency celebrates Monteverdi’s 450th anniversary
- 2017 Christmas programme features a festive collection of music from the 16th century up to the present day The Sixteen continue as Artistic Associates at Kings Place and Associate Artists at the Bridgewater Hall
- International dates include debut performances in China, Estonia and Lithuania
- The Sixteen continues its outreach work with four concerts given by Genesis Sixteen
Choral Pilgrimage 2018
Choral Pilgrimage 2018 focuses on music by William Cornysh and Benjamin Britten, who were prolific writers of both sacred and secular music. Cornysh (1465-1523) was a court musician who excelled at writing complex and adventurous antiphons for the church, as well as beautiful secular songs for the courts of King Henry VII and King Henry VIII. Britten is celebrated for his ability to expertly mix sacred and secular in order to showcase the voice in all its multifaceted glory. The Choral Pilgrimage 2018 programme draws on this sacred and secular mix of Britten’s music and features four pieces by the composer including Sacred and Profane - a fascinating combination of the devotional and the rumbustiously secular - Hymn to the Virgin, Hymn to Saint Cecilia and Advance Democracy. These pieces are interspersed with Cornysh’s My love she mourneth, Salve Regina, Ave Maria, Mater Dei, Woefully array’d and Ah Robin, gentle Robin. The performances are conducted by Harry Christophers and for selected performances by associate conductor Eamonn Dougan.
In February 2018, The Sixteen embarks on an 8-concert tour of the UK with its own period instrument orchestra performing Vivaldi’s Gloria. Composed in Venice, probably in 1715, for the choir of the Ospedale della Pietà, its wonderfully sunny nature and distinctive melodies and rhythms gives it an immediate and universal appeal. Bach was a fierce admirer of Vivaldi’s work, and his extraordinarily inventive Mass in G major complements the Gloria perfectly. The programme also features Vivaldi’s Sinfonia from La Dorilla and Handel’s Overture from Esther (1st version). Dates include: Lincoln on 1 February, Derby on 2 February, Peterborough on 3 February, London on 7 February, Chichester on 8 February, Worcester on 9 February, Rochester on 10 February and Guildford on 13 February. Residencies at Kings Place, Wigmore Hall and The Bridgewater Hall
The Sixteen continue its residencies this season at Kings Place, the Wigmore Hall and The Bridgewater Hall.
Kings Place Artistic Associate
On 13 January, as part of Kings Place Times Unwrapped, The Sixteen and Harry Christophers present ‘Reincarnations’, a programme of music of ‘time past’. Music by Monteverdi and the great Iberian composers Guerrero and Victoria will be interleaved with the Dante-inspired poetry of Seamus Heaney. On 16 June, The Sixteen explores how ancient monastic tone texts formed the basis of polyphonic creations from settings by Victoria and the ground-breaking writing of Palestrina to the Catholic Byrd’s intricate, contrapuntal style. The programme includes Victorias’s Salve Regina a5 and a8, Sheppard’s Pace, Libera nos I and II and In manus tuas I, II and III, Byrd’s Oculi omnium in te sperant Domine, O lux beata trinitas and Miserere mei, Palestrina’s Ecce nunc benedicite Dominum, Lassus’ Lauda Jerusalem Dominum and Lauda anima mea Dominum, Plainsong Salve Regina and Suscepit Deus. The evening culminates in Anerio’s eight-part Magnificat.
Wigmore Hall 2017-18 Residency
In celebration of the 450th anniversary of Monteverdi’s birth, The Sixteen and Harry Christophers continue their exploration of the composer’s Selva morale e spirituale with a concert at Wigmore Hall on 24 October 2017 featuring a small consort of singers and instrumentalists. The programme includes Monteverdi’s Beatus vir (Primo), O ciechi, il tanto affaticar che giova?, Laudate Dominum omnes gentes (Primo), Salve Regina (Terzo), Gloria a7, Laudate Dominum omnes gentes (Terzo), Salve Regina (Secondo), Laudate pueri (Primo), Chi vol che m’innamori and Dixit Dominus (Secondo) a8. On 22 January 2018, The Sixteen performs a programme showcasing the variety and diversity of Purcell with a programme focused around his series of Welcome Songs and Odes for the celebration of royal occasions, composed between 1680 and 1695. The concert includes Rejoice in the Lord always, Close thine eyes and sleep secure, Blow, Boreas, blow, O all ye people, clap your hands, Come my hearts Welcome Song 1682 ‘What shall be done in behalf of the man’, Overture in D minor, Let each gallant heart, She loves and confesses too, Retir’d from any mortal’s sight , O praise the Lord, all ye heathen and Welcome Song 1684 ‘From those serene and rapturous joys’. On 23 June, The Sixteen and Harry Christophers give a concert performance of Handel’s Acis & Galatea. Handel’s pastoral opera is a tale of tragedy, eternal love and liberation, telling the story of the mortal Acis, the goddess Galatea and their love doomed by the cyclops Polyphemus. This performance remains true to the opera’s premiere performance in 1718, using a small group of nine instrumentalists and five singers including Grace Davidson as Galatea, Mark Dobell as Damon, Jeremy Budd as Acis, Simon Berridge as Coridon and Stuart Young as Polyphemus.
Bridgewater Hall Associate Artists
On 17 November, The Sixteen singers and orchestra perform Bach’s Magnificat, which was written in Leipzig for the 1723 Christmas Vespers, and anticipates the great choruses of the composer’s later Mass in B minor. Performed alongside this masterpiece is Bach’s ever-popular Brandenburg Concerto No 3 and a selection of his cantatas including Singet dem Herrn, Gloria in excelsis Deo Cantata BWV 191, Sinfonia from Cantata BWV 156, Jesus bleibet meine Freude (Jesu, joy of man’s desiring) from Cantata BWV 147 and Sinfonia from part 2 of Cantata BWV 75.
This season’s Christmas programme features a festive collection of music from the 16th century right up to the present day. The Sixteen and Harry Christophers continue their exploration of Poulenc’s work with his joyful Quatre motets pour le temps de Noël, an uplifting celebration of the events of the Christmas story, and revisit his solemn and reflective Un soir de neige, one of the highlights of The Choral Pilgrimage 2017 programme. Performances include: Gateshead on 8 December; London on 9, 18 & 19 December; Glyndebourne on 10 December; Birmingham on 11 December; Oxford on 15 December; Cardiff on 17 December and Reading on 21 December.
Other concerts this season include a performance at Snape Maltings, as part of the Snape Proms, on 22 August with a programme that presents a new version of the iconic Miserere by Allegri and builds around it a sequence of other music and composers from the Papal court. The concert includes Plainsong, works by Allegri, Palestrina and three works by Anerio. On 12 November at Marlborough College Chapel, The Sixteen continues to explore the intimate relationship between poetry and music in a programme of a cappella English works from across the centuries including Harris, James MacMillan Finzi, John Barber, Tippett, Howells, Jonathan Dove and three works by Britten. This concert is conducted by Eamonn Dougan. The Sixteen and Harry Christophers give three further performances of their ever-popular The Queen of Heaven programme focusing on three composers’ unique devotion to the church – Allegri, Palestrina and James Macmillan. Dates include: London on 14 November; Grayshott on 24 November and Beckenham on 30 June.
The Sixteen continues its work with choral music enthusiasts of all ages this season including five chorister workshops (22 September at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, 23 September at Blackburn Cathedral, 26 October at Hull Minster, 25 November at Chelmsford Cathedral and Brentwood Cathedral) and seven Choral Pilgrimage Choral Workshops (3 September in London, 9 September in Tewkesbury, 23 September in Blackburn, 30 September in St Albans, 14 October in Hull, 21 October in Edinburgh and 25 November in Chelmsford). Singers on the young artist programme, Genesis Sixteen, give four concerts throughout the season (31 August & 2 September in Oxford and 30 September at the Cumnock Tryst Festival) and Genesis Sixteen alumni give a lunchtime recital on 25 August at Southwell Minster as part of a new initiative by the Southwell Music Festival to support the development of emerging talent on the British classical music scene. The quartet of singers also join the Southwell Festival Chorus for a performance of Mozart’s Mass in C minor conducted by Marcus Farnsworth on 26 August.
The Sixteen expands its international programme this season with dates at some of the world’s major concert halls and festivals including performances in Beijing on 4 October and Shanghai on 7 & 8 October as well as the first international performance of The Choral Pilgrimage 2017 programme in Hong Kong on 6 October. In November, The Sixteen performs a programme of music by contemporary composers including James MacMillan and Arvo Pärt in Vilnius on 2 November and Tallinn on 4 November and Eamonn Dougan conducts works by Victoria, Anerio, Guerrero and Stanford in Bruges on 29 November and Antwerp on 30 November. The Sixteen perform music by Jacob Handl and Philippe de Monte in Prague on 14 June and the choir gives its debut performance at the Fribourg International Festival of Sacred Music in July 2018.
Forthcoming CORO releases
This season, The Sixteen releases three new recordings on its record label CORO, including the first disc in a new series celebrating Purcell’s Royal Welcome Songs on 1 September. This recording, which has evolved from The Sixteen’s Wigmore Hall residency, explores the composer’s wit-filled masterpieces written for royal occasions and showcases the variety and diversity of Purcell’s writing, opening with the Chacony in G minor and including When on my sick bed I languish. Also due for release in September is the seventh volume in The Sixteen’s celebrated Palestrina exploration which focuses on some of the pivotal women in Christian history - Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, St Barbara and Susannah. The Sixteen’s highly acclaimed Polish series returns in October with associate conductor, Eamonn Dougan, at the helm. The latest volume features the music of Marcin Mielczewski, one of the most notable 17th-century Polish composers. Mielczewski was recognised as a leader among his contemporaries and was a prolific composer. The cross-section of works on the new album shows an exceptionally accomplished musician at work, one whose music deserves a wider audience.