Sunday, 31 May 2015

Voices of angels (Christophers/Sixteen)

Harry Christopers cond. The Sixteen – Flight of Angels: Lobo and Guerrero
On Thursday, The Sixteen made their annual pilgrimage to Leicester. They sing in St James the Greater, which is a copy (apparently not very accurate) of an Early Christian one in Venice. 
View of temporary stage (Own photograph)
The programme returned to the Renaissance polyphony which is their real strength. The eighteen voices now (that’s inflation) filled the church’s space beautifully, rich and full. The acoustics in this modest parish church Towards the end of each half, the music came to its cumulative high. Especial kudos is due surely to Julie Cooper who had her arm in some kind of cast or support, but carried on with a music stand to hold her score. The mixed programme was Guerrero and Lobo – Guerrero was Lobo’s teacher, so perhaps the coherence was unsurprising in that sense. Programmatically considerable care had been taken so that the two finest pieces – both by Guerrero, Maria Magdalene and Agnus Dei were placed at the end of each section.
The strange thing about the performance in a church like that is that people will applaud by not shout, cheer, or stand to ovate. In a concert hall you would have expected quite a roar. If I thought the Sixteen were less perfect than they had been last year, this represented a real return to form.
 Short film by the Sixteen introducing this year's programme
Continues on national tour until end of the year; details here. Also released on Coro, the Sixteen's own label.
Concert programme
Guerrero Duo seraphim
Lobo Kyrie from Missa Maria Magdalene
Lobo Libera me
Guerrero Gloria from Missa Surge propera   
Guerrero Laudate Dominum
Guerrero Maria Magdalene   
Guerrero Credo from Missa de la batalla escoutez
Guerrero Vexilla regis  
Lobo Ave Regina coelorum 
Lobo Ave Maria
Lobo Versa est in luctum  
Guerrero Agnus Dei I and II from Missa Congratulamini mihi
Cast: 18 of the 32, but details of this not provided (a handbill would be nice). 

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