The Sixteen

Choir

The Sixteen

After thirty years of world-wide performance and recording, The Sixteen is recognised as one of the world’s greatest vocal ensembles. Its special reputation for performing early English polyphony, masterpieces of the Renaissance and a diversity of 20th century music is drawn from the passions of conductor and founder, Harry Christophers. Over ninety recordings reflect The Sixteen’s quality in a range of work spanning the music of five hundred years, winning many awards including Grand Prix du Disque for Handel's Messiah, numerous Schallplattenkritik, the coveted Gramophone Award for Early Music, and most recently the prestigious Classical Brit Award 2005 for 'Renaissance'.

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Macmillan: Stabat Mater

Macmillan: Stabat Mater


 

Stabat Mater (plainsong)

MacMillan:

Stabat Mater

world premiere recording


Includes the world premiere recording of James MacMillan's Stabat Mater.

Few living composers communicate with the emotional directness of Sir James MacMillan, and performances of his new Stabat Mater are eagerly anticipated. The Sixteen gave the world premiere of this work at a series of concerts in October 2016 as well as recording the work for their own record label, CORO. For MacMillan, 'beauty is at the heart of our Christian faith' and the Stabat Mater is sure to be profoundly shaped by his beliefs. But this is a work with deep roots and a universal message, a celebration of both tradition and radical renewal.

“his Stabat Mater is both moving and original in its word-setting and especially in its creation of atmosphere” classicalsource.com, February 2017 ****

“It’s a devastatingly powerful evocation of Mary’s agony, balancing impassioned choral writing with equally intense, occasionally violent, work for the strings of the Britten Sinfonia...Wonderfully sung; profoundly moving.” The Guardian, 12th March 2017 ****

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Coro - COR16150

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The Sixteen sing Poulenc

The Sixteen sing Poulenc


Poulenc:

Mass in G major

Un soir de neige

Litanies à la Vierge noire

Quatre motets pour le temps de Noël

Quatre motets pour un temps de pénitence

Salve Regina

Ave verum corpus


Francis Poulenc is considered one of the greatest melodists of the 20th century but it is his individual and immediately recognisable harmonic language that makes his music so distinctive. Often overlooked in his lifetime and in the years after his death, his sacred music was an expression of his more serious side and, following the death of his close friend, Pierre-Octave Ferroud, a re-awakening of his religious faith. The Sixteen’s new recording centres round the themes of conflict and atonement, reflecting both Poulenc’s intense internal struggles and the turbulence of life in France during the mid-20th century.

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Coro - COR16149

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Song of the Nativity

Song of the Nativity


Bullard, A:

And all the stars looked down

Chilcott:

Shepherd's Carol

Davies, Walford:

O Little Town of Bethlehem

Gardner, John:

When Christ was born of Mary free

Ireland:

The Holy Boy

Jackson, Gabriel:

The Christ-child

Lauridsen:

O magnum mysterium

MacMillan:

The Strathclyde Motets: O Radiant Dawn

McDowall:

Now may we singen, a carol for Christmas

Ord:

Adam lay ybounden

Roth, A:

Song of the Shepherds

Rutter:

There is a flower

Skempton:

Adam lay y-bounden

Todd:

My Lord Has Come

trad.:

The Saviour's Work

A Gallery Carol

Children's Song of the Nativity

Somerset Wassail

This endris night

Christmas Eve

Dutch Carol

Warlock:

Bethlehem Down


The Sixteen contrasts the dramatic intensity of music by some of today’s most admired composers with such traditional and modern carols as Boris Ord’s Adam lay ybounden and Henry Walford Davies’ version of O little town of Bethlehem. Much-loved modern classics including John Rutter’s There is a flower, Morten Lauridsen’s O magnum mysterium and James MacMillan’s O radiant dawn also appear on this beautiful album and there are many others which, in the course of time, will also become classics; every one of them by their unashamed simplicity, captures the joy and sincerity of this most wonderful of seasons. This album provides a perfect peaceful and uplifting antidote to the hectic pre-Christmas rush.

“From the gorgeously shaped performance of Morten Lauridsen’s modern classic O magnum mysterium which opens the programme, to the urgent, ardent account of James MacMillan’s O radiant dawn which closes it, The Sixteen give a masterclass in the art of unaccompanied singing, and in close emotional engagement with the pieces chosen” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2016 *****

BBC Music Magazine

Disc of the month

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Coro - COR16146

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Edmund Rubbra: Choral Works

Edmund Rubbra: Choral Works


Rubbra:

Tenebrae Motets, Op. 72: First, Second & Third Nocturns

Missa Cantuariensis, Op. 59

Three Motets, Op. 76

Five Motets for unaccompanied choir, Op. 37


The distinctive style of Edmund Rubbra’s music is unmistakable – his love of counterpoint, his sense of tonality, and his clever working of melody make him stand out from many of his contemporaries. His writing, whilst harmonically challenging and vocally taxing, is also intensely personal and highly charged with emotion - at times mystical, at others seriously dramatic.

Though he is best-known for his orchestral works, choral music was a constant throughout his career, and a genre of particular importance to a composer of strong spiritual conviction.

In this beautiful new recording The Sixteen explores some of his little-known choral music including the extraordinary Tenebrae Nocturns and the Missa Cantuariensis with its fabulous double-choir writing.

This album also features the first recording of the Responses from the Missa Cantuariensis.

“This is a disc which anybody remotely interested in Rubbra will want to purchase.” BBC Music Magazine, December 2016 ****

“well-nigh flawless renderings from The Sixteen under Harry Christophers…high-class advocacy of some enormously rewarding repertoire” Classical Ear, October 2016 ****

“Christophers and the Sixteen make a convincing case for a reappraisal of his choral music...Each piece is sung with the purity and sincerity we have come to expect from one of the UK’s most treasured and respected vocal ensembles.” The Observer, 11th September 2016 ****

Coro - COR16144

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Helper and Protector

Helper and Protector

Italian Maestri in Poland


Bertolusi:

Timor Domini

Sancta Maria, succurre miseris

Ave verum corpus

Peccantem me quotidie

Marenzio:

Iniquos odio habui

Missa super iniquos odio habui

Jubilate deo

Pacelli:

Gaudent in caelis

Beati estis

Media nocte

Christus resurgens


The Sixteen, Eamonn Dougan

The fourth volume in this highly acclaimed series, conducted by The Sixteen’s Associate Conductor, Eamonn Dougan, explores the music of Italian composers working in the Polish court during the reign of Sigismund III Vasa. In 1594 Sigismund III set about reorganising his music ensemble and he decided to bring in Italian musicians, singularly esteemed at that time, and, in particular, musicians associated with the music chapels of Rome. Amongst them were Luca Marenzio, Asprillo Pacelli, and Vincenzo Bertolusi; their arrival heralded a new dawn for sacred music in Poland.

The centrepiece of this album is Marenzio’s exquisite Missa super Iniquos odio habui. The Kyrie and Gloria movements are known but the remaining parts of the Mass were feared lost following World War II, but were actually appropriated by the Soviets and have only been rediscovered since the fall of the Berlin Wall. This is the premiere recording of the complete Mass which is set alongside the motet Iniquos odio habui on which it is based.

Also included are Pacelli’s joyous Beati estis and Bertolusi’s sublime Ave verum corpus.

“The clarity of Dougan’s glossy choral textures allows the music’s rhythmic animation to penetrate, and pacing is carefully calibrated to balance moment-by-moment drama with a longer musical arc” Gramophone Magazine, August 2016

Early Music

Coro Polish Music - COR16141

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Monteverdi: Messa a Quattro voci et salmi of 1650 Volume I

Monteverdi: Messa a Quattro voci et salmi of 1650 Volume I


Cavalli:

Magnificat

Monteverdi:

Dixit [Dominus] Primo

Confitebor tibi Domine, SV194

Lauda Jerusalem a 3, SV202

Nisi Dominus I à 3 voci & duoi violini

Laudate pueri Primo à 5 concertato

Laetaniae della Beata Vergine a 6 voci

Beatus vir a 7, SV195


Monteverdi’s sacred vocal compositions introduced the expression of powerful and personal emotions to the world of church music. Whilst it took him a number of years to find fulfilment in his work, Monteverdi was a revered composer within his lifetime and his music is regarded as revolutionary, marking the change from the Renaissance style to that of the Baroque. This album comprises some of the finest works from Monteverdi’s years as director of music at St Mark’s in Venice, published posthumously in 1650 as the Messa a quattro voci et salmi.

“The Sixteen’s performances have the group’s usual unfussy directness; the sound has no churchy over-resonance about it, either, so that the intricacies of the writing are always perfectly clear.” The Guardian, 24th March 2016 ***

“Ideal consort singing.” Sunday Times, 3rd April 2016

“The Sixteen’s complete recording of the Selva morale collection has been praised in these pages, and the qualities of ensemble are certainly worth noting here also. They are heard to best effect in the more richly scored pieces: the five-voice Laetatus sum and Laudate pueri, for example.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2016

Early Music

Coro - COR16142

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The Deer’s Cry: The Sixteen sing Pärt, Byrd & Tallis

The Deer’s Cry: The Sixteen sing Pärt, Byrd & Tallis


 

Miserere nostri

Tallis / Byrd

Byrd:

Diliges Dominum

Christe qui Lux

Miserere mihi, Domini

Tribue, Domine

Emendemus in melius

O Lux beata Trinitas

Ad Dominum cum tribularer

Laetentur coeli

Pärt:

The Deer's Cry

Nunc dimittis

The Woman With The Alabaster Box

Tallis:

When Jesus went into Simon the Pharisee's house


Whilst coming from very different eras, William Byrd and Arvo Pärt are both considered masters of sacred music despite having faced considerable persecution for their work. This programme presents six of William Byrd’s works from the Cantiones Sacrae including the monumental Tribue, Domine, and the mighty eight-voice motet Ad Dominum cum tribularer. The three works by Arvo Pärt speak in his unmistakable voice, with its unique blend of ancient and modern, and include his mesmerising Nunc dimittis which is crafted in his bell-like ‘tinitinnabuli’ style.

“It’s fascinating to compare Tallis and Pärt’s different but complementary treatments of the Woman with the Alabaster Box parable. Music and singing of hypnotic beauty.” Sunday Times, 31st January 2016

“The Sixteen perform music of composers born four centuries apart, both persecuted for their religious faith...In each case their choral writing has a simplicity and intensity, perfectly suited to the blended sound of the Sixteen.” The Guardian, 31st January 2016

“Those favouring sonic beauty above all else will find 'The Deer's Cry' an essential addition. Larger forces and fuller voices give The Sixteen a textural depth Stile Antico and The Tallis Scholars neither seek nor attain, thickening the sound without obscuring the architectural workings of these complex pieces of polyphony...it's hard to wish greater restraint of such glorious singing.” Gramophone Magazine, March 2016

“[The Deer's Cry] is a deceptively easy-looking piece on the page, but keeping its halting, minimalist ground-rhythm pulsing meaningfully, and building the slow-burn crescendo over several minutes requires advanced levels of technical proficiency. That, of course, is what The Sixteen majors in, and its performance combines a scrupulous accuracy with a pregnant sense of ritual and contemplative mystery” BBC Music Magazine, April 2016 ****

Presto Discs of 2016

Finalist

Early Music

Coro - COR16140

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Poetry in Music

Poetry in Music


Britten:

Hymn to St Cecilia, Op. 27

East, M:

When David Heard that Absalom was Slain

Gurney:

Since I believe in God the Father

Harris, W:

Faire is the Heaven

Bring us, O Lord God

Howells:

Take him, earth, for cherishing

MacMillan:

The Gallant Weaver

Pearsall:

Lay a garland

Ramsey, R:

When David heard

Rubbra:

Eternitie

Rubinstein, B:

There is a spirit

Tippett:

Dance, Clarion Air

Tomkins:

When David Heard

Weelkes:

When David Heard


Ruth Provost, Kirsty Hopkins, David Clegg, Jeremy Budd, Ben Davies, Julie Cooper, Edward McMullan, Mark Dobell

The Sixteen, Harry Christophers

Does music add substance to words or is music inspired by them? Songs of departure and farewell are deeply rooted in the great tradition of British choral music, nourished by ancient myths of testing journeys, wayside transformations and homecomings. The transcendent nature of music and the power of poetry to challenge and alter perceptions of reality – harnessed by English composers over many centuries – flow through a programme that invites contemplation of life and death, of love and loss, creation and eternity. In a journey covering six centuries of musical history, The Sixteen performs a cappella anthems with powerful texts by writers as varied as Edmund Spenser, Christopher Fry and W.H. Auden.

“It is clear that this is something really special. That specialness comes not just from the fact that The Sixteen elevate everything they perform through their opulent musicality and supreme clarity of tone, but from Harry Christophers’s intuitive grasp of the marriage of music and words.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2015

“the British composers represented here, covering five centuries, all chose distinguished texts and responded with extraordinary music...The performances are beautiful and brilliant.” New York Times, 25th November 2015

GGramophone Awards 2016

Shortlisted - Choral

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - November 2015

Early Music

Coro - COR16134

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The Complete Traditional Christmas Carols Collection

The Complete Traditional Christmas Carols Collection

Volumes 1 & 2


Darke:

In the Bleak Midwinter

Gauntlett:

Once in Royal David's city

Goss, J:

See amid the winter's snow

Gruber, F:

Silent Night

Holst:

In the Bleak Mid-winter (Cranham)

Kirkpatrick:

Away in a Manger

Kocher:

As with gladness men of old

Mendelssohn:

Hark! the herald angels sing

Ord:

Adam lay ybounden

Poston:

Jesus Christ the Apple Tree

trad.:

The First Nowell

Sussex Carol

While Shepherds Watched

I saw three ships

Angels from the Realms Of Glory

O little town of Bethlehem

Rocking

In Dulci Jubilo

Ding dong! merrily on high

Good King Wenceslas

Deck the Hall

The Holly and the Ivy

God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen

Coventry Carol

Of the Father's heart begotten

This is the truth sent from above

Gabriel’s Message

Masters in this Hall

Past Three a Clock

Gloucester Wassail (Wassail, wassail all over the town)

In Dulci Jubilo

O come, o come, Emmanuel

Cherry Tree Carol

It came upon the midnight clear

Personent hodie

Down in yon Forest

Wexford Carol

Joys seven

Unto Us a Boy is Born!

Vaughan Williams:

Wither's rocking hymn

Wade, J F:

O come, all ye faithful


Due to popular demand, CORO has packaged The Sixteen’s two most popular Christmas titles into one double CD set. The ensemble’s Traditional Christmas Carol Collections Volumes I and II feature some of our best-known and best-loved Christmas carols in arrangements with traditional harmonies and original words. Favourites include In the bleak midwinter, Silent night and See amid the winter’s snow. There is also an abundance of festive music that deserves to be better known and The Sixteen includes some rediscovered treasures in this collection such as Masters in this Hall, Past three a clock and Gloucestershire Wassail.

“If you really want to listen to carols at home or in the gym, you won’t go wrong with these pristine performances.” Financial Times, 4th December 2010 ***

“beautiful with a capital B.” The Times, 17th December 2010

“Simple, sincere and thoroughly engaging.” American Record Guide

“The Sixteen sounds as crisp and refreshing as a frosty morning...A wide and interesting choice of festive favourites, performed with precise, unsentimental warmth and a sense of occasion.” Classic FM Magazine, January 2011 ****

Early Music

Coro - COR16136

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Palestrina Volume 6

Palestrina Volume 6


Palestrina:

Missa L'Homme Armé 5vv

Surge amica mea, speciosa mea (from Canticum canticorum)

Dilectus meus mihi

Peccantem me quotidie

Surgam et circuibo civitatem

Parce mihi, Domine

Si ambulavero in medio tribulationis

Tribulationes civitatum

Super flumina Babylonis

Tribularer si nescirem

plus:

SONG OF SONGS: nos. 16, 17 & 18


The Sixteen continues its acclaimed series of discs exploring the work of Italian Renaissance master, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina. An enormous body of sacred works, including over 100 Masses, rightly earned Palestrina the title of ‘the prince and father of music’ and ‘the saviour of church music’. His legacy has impacted sacred music worldwide for over 400 years and composers throughout the centuries have studied and learned from his gift of writing exquisite polyphony.

Central to this sixth disc is Palestrina’s unjustly neglected 5-voice L’Homme armé Mass. Written before 1570, it is no mere technical showpiece, but contains music of the highest quality. It is accompanied on this disc by a group of penitential and devotional motets and Offertories on well known texts such as Parce mihi Domine, Si ambulavero in medio tribulationis, Tribulationes civitatem, De profundis, and Super flumina Babylonis, eliciting from Palestrina his best and most moving music. Three further Song of Songs motets in the Sixteen’s ongoing complete survey complete the CD.

“Christophers artfully moulds and heightens the contours of the polyphonic lines, which ebb and flow in a liquid tapesty of sound...The Sixteen's rich, buttery sound is particularly effective for the sensual Song of Songs settings, which brim with Counter-Reformation fervour.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2015 *****

“This sort of mood suits The Sixteen's brightly focused choral sound, and Harry Christophers's direction is unobtrusive but telling: the terraced approach to the final 'Kyrie' is a case in point, and the flowering into six voices in the concluding 'Agnus Dei' is particularly lovely.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2015

Early Music

Coro Sixteen Palestrina - COR16133

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