The Sixteen


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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The Complete Traditional Christmas Carols Collection

The Complete Traditional Christmas Carols Collection

Volumes 1 & 2


In the Bleak Midwinter


Once in Royal David's city

Goss, J:

See amid the winter's snow

Gruber, F:

Silent Night


In the Bleak Mid-winter (Cranham)


Away in a Manger


As with gladness men of old


Hark! the herald angels sing


Adam lay y-bounden


Jesus Christ the Apple Tree


The First Nowell

Sussex Carol

While Shepherds Watched

I saw three ships

Angels from the Realms Of Glory

O little town of Bethlehem


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.

“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 ****

“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

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Coro - COR16136

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Monteverdi in Mantua

Monteverdi in Mantua

the Genius of the Vespers


Vespro della beata Vergine (1610)

presented by Simon Russell Beale

The Sixteen, Harry Christophers

The BBC’s celebrated Sacred Music journey continues with Monteverdi in Mantua - the story of a Renaissance duke and the composer who worked for him and how their volatile relationship would create one of the most revolutionary and beautiful collections of music ever published: The Monteverdi Vespers of 1610. The programme is presented by Shakespearean actor and former St Paul’s Cathedral chorister, Simon Russell Beale, whose enthusiasm for choral music is matched by his gift for storytelling. Together with conductor Harry Christophers and his virtuoso choir The Sixteen, Simon explores Monteverdi’s early career in Mantua, where he wrote the Vespers under the slave-like regime of Duke Vincenzo Gonzaga, a man addicted to sex, luxury and art. Using the remarkable legacy of 127 surviving letters, Monteverdi is revealed as the first of a new breed of dramatic composer, straddling the worlds of the secular and sacred, whose bold experiments would change the way music sounds forever.

A Special Edition version (COR16137) is also available which includes The Sixteen’s audio recording of the Vespers of 1610.

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DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

Coro BBC Sacred Music - COR16131

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Palestrina Volume 6

Palestrina Volume 6


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


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

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Coro Sixteen Palestrina - COR16133



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Grzegorz Gerwazy Gorczycki

Grzegorz Gerwazy Gorczycki


Conductus funebris

Litaniae de Providentia Divina

Missa Rorate caeli

In virtute tua

O rex gloriae

Illuxit sol

Sepulto Domino

The Sixteen, Eamonn Dougan

The third disc in The Sixteen’s acclaimed series of Polish music, conducted by Associate Conductor, Eamonn Dougan, explores the work of Grzegorz Gerwazy Gorczycki (1665–1734). Regarded as the outstanding Polish composer of the high baroque, Gorczycki studied in Prague and Vienna in his early years and returned to Kraków in 1690 where he took holy orders. He was appointed Magister capellae at Wawel Cathedral in 1698, a position he held until his death. Like his predecessor Bartłomiej Pękiel (COR16110), Gorczycki wrote in both stile antico and stile moderno; the works featured in this recording display his skill in both genres. The Missa Rorate shows his mastery of counterpoint and sensitivity to word-setting, as does Illuxit Sol in which Gorczycki revels in the rhetoric of the text, painting it with lush five-part string writing; Conductus Funebris, a four-movement work setting text from the Burial Service, marries his contrapuntal skills with a more emphatic, declamatory style, while in the Litania de Providentia Divinae, Gorczycki unleashes the full power of his invention as he paints the virtues of "Divine Providence" with a glowing palate of colours.

“It’s a curious mix. Sometimes, as in the a cappella Missa Rorate caeli (he sets both Ordinary and Proper texts), he writes in a late Renaissance manner; elsewhere, his style is more up to date, not unlike Carissimi. These performances are pristine, carefully blended and appositely devout in flavour.” Sunday Times, 19th April 2015

“On this latest disc, The Sixteen and their Associate Conductor Eamonn Dougan straddle eras, keeping one foot in the composer's unaccompanied prima pratica vocal works (strongly influenced by Palestrina) and one in his seconda pratica vocal-instrumental works with their Monteverdi-influenced sonic drama...This is Italian music with just the faintest Polish accent.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2015

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Purcell: The Indian Queen

Purcell: The Indian Queen


The Indian Queen, Z630

Purcell, D:

The Masque of Hymen

Julie Cooper, Kirsty Hopkins, Jeremy Budd, Mark Dobell, Matthew Long, Ben Davies, Eamonn Dougan & Stuart Young

The Sixteen, Harry Christophers

Henry Purcell was a brilliant music dramatist and in The Indian Queen there is a plethora of detail, colour and characterisation to be explored in every symphony, air and dance. Purcell's instrumental writing leaps off the page with string writing that is second to none and a wealth of variety capped by exquisite writing for trumpet, oboes and recorders.

Based on Dryden’s play, Henry Purcell’s music from The Indian Queen deals with the conflict between the Mexican and Peruvians and principally with Queen Zempoalla. The Indian Queen is a classic story of love and war and, as with all good stories, things don’t go quite as planned for the eponymous Queen…

There is so much exceptional vocal music to revel in but none better than the extraordinary recitative You twice ten hundred deities for the magician Ismeron which opens Act III, and was described by the historian Charles Burney as “the best piece of recitative in our language”.

Like Mozart and Schubert, Henry Purcell lived all too short a life – he lived just over 30 years – and for that reason it was left to his brother Daniel to complete The Indian Queen. Daniel was no Henry but his final Hymeneal masque allows a little light relief. Act V, which was the last music that Henry wrote, is a perfect Didoesque ending to The Indian Queen proper and just proves how we as music lovers suffer when these geniuses die young.

“Christophers leads a trim, affectionate performance of Purcell’s last (unfinished) semi-opera. The musical forces are small and flexible, and though some previous recordings bring more star power to bear among the soloists, Purcell’s bountiful score is never short-changed.” Financial Times, 28th February 2015 ****

“A fine scene for the magician suavely done by Eamonn Dougan. The band play adroitly in a few curtain tunes and the Overture...High tenor Matthew Long dispatches Fame's 'Begone, curst fiends of Hell' impressively...this is an engaging advocacy of Purcell's final and seemingly incomplete opera.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2015

“Henry’s music has dwindled to one song, but his contributions are of consistently finer quality...than his relative’s. Christophers has less famous names than Hogwood did (Kirkby, Ainsley, Finley), but Matthew Long, Eamonn Dougan and Julie Cooper’s solos are all outstanding, and their voices blend superbly in the choruses.” Sunday Times, 29th March 2015

“It’s a delicious 72 minutes of Restoration wit and lyrical charm, performed gracefully by Harry Christophers’ the Sixteen. There are stirring trumpet tunes, one magnificent bass scene (sonorously delivered by Eamonn Dougan), and fine solos from rising young singers such as Kirsty Hopkins and Matthew Long.” The Times, 28th February 2015 ****

Coro - COR16129



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Spirit, Strength & Sorrow

Spirit, Strength & Sorrow

Five settings of the Stabat Mater


Stabat Mater

Firsova, E:

Stabat Mater


Stabat Mater

Martin, M:

Stabat Mater

Scarlatti, D:

Stabat Mater a 10 voci

Spirit, Strength & Sorrow is the staggering result of The Sixteen’s third collaboration with the Genesis Foundation and demonstrates, once again, their joint commitment to nurturing new artistic talent. This CD features three brand new settings of the Stabat Mater from emerging composers, Alissa Firsova, Tõnu Kõrvits and Matthew Martin alongside those by Claudio Casciolini and Domenico Scarlatti.

Harry Christophers writes: ‘I find it staggering to think that it was only eight years ago when I first met John Studzinsiki. We had been invited to perform a very special work by Will Todd, aptly written for sixteen solo voices, which John had commissioned for his birthday. From this moment began a fruitful, meaningful and, above all, inspirational collaboration with John and the Genesis Foundation. Every project since has emanated from John’s devotion to the Catholic faith and his love of the wonderful poetry which encapsulates Christianity as well as his laudable mission to promote and nurture young talent.’

“Three new responses to the text, commissioned by John Studzinski’s Genesis Foundation, are sung here with faultless clarity by the Sixteen...Each is a significant contribution to the repertoire, sitting proudly alongside more familiar settings from Scarlatti and Casciolini, and all meticulously directed by Harry Christophers.” The Observer, 16th November 2014 ****

“All three [new works] are worth hearing and Domenico Scarlatti’s “Stabat Mater” makes a highly enjoyable Baroque companion for them.” Financial Times, 29th November 2014 ****

“All three [new settings] are touching and effective: imaginative in their choral sonorities and colouring of the text, skilfully balancing a strong feeling for tradition with a distinctive individual voice...At moments in their intimate and elegiac performance of the Scarlatti I wanted a dose of Latin theatricality. But in the new works their singing, technically and expressively, is beyond criticism.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2015

“Of the three contemporary works featured, Matthew Martin's is technically the most ambitious...It's an absorbing, highly accomplished piece of vocal writing, tailor-made to stretch a choir of The Sixteen's ability...For sinuous beauty, though, Domenico Scarlatti's gorgeous ten-part setting takes some beating, deliciously accompanied here by theorbo, harp and organ.” BBC Music Magazine, February 2015 ****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - January 2015

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Monteverdi: Vespro della beata Vergine (1610)

Monteverdi: Vespro della beata Vergine (1610)

Grace Davidson, Charlotte Mobbs (sopranos), Simon Berridge, Jeremy Budd, Mark Dobell (tenor) & Ben Davies, Eamonn Dougan (bass)

The Sixteen, Harry Christophers

Harry Christophers writes: ‘Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 is quite simply one of the greatest works of sacred music ever written and without doubt the most varied and inspired before Handel and Bach began composing their oratorios and passions. Where it was written, why it was written and who it was written for are actually immaterial – suffice it to say it was quite simply his calling card for the big job, Choirmaster at the resplendent Basilica of St Mark in Venice. Its variety alone makes it unique – thrilling psalm settings with virtuosic writing for both multi-part choir and instrumentalists to exotic and sensual settings of texts from the Song of Songs for solo voices. Every movement is full of luscious harmonies, drama and an evocative musical language which is so beautifully constructed for all concerned.’

“Christophers sees Monteverdi attempting here to 'speak through singing'...and this, he tells us, allows the conductor 'the most amazing licence' - of accentuation, speed and declamation. Hence the character accounts of Laudate pueri and Dixit Dominus, where pauses are ignored or inserted and the relative speeds between their duple and triple sections are rarely the same.” BBC Music Magazine, January 2015 ****

“This is surely one of the most refined versions of the Vespers currently available...not a note is out of place” Early Music Today, May 2015 *****

“Exemplary all-round standards are the draw here, whether solo voices, choir or instruments.” Financial Times, 15th November 2014 ****

“The Sixteen has a directness and, certainly in this recording, a muscularity in approach that are very appealing…Christophers shapes every phrase beautifully and is always alive to Monteverdi's rhetoric…[this performance] gives a sense of how shockingly modern Monteverdi's Vespers must have seemed to those used to Palestrina and the like. For a work with which we are now so familiar, that is no small achievement.” International Record Review, May 2015

Coro - COR16126

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Palestrina Volume 5

Palestrina Volume 5


Missa Iam Christus astra ascenderat

Canticum Canticorum, cycle of 29 motets: No. 13

Canticum Canticorum, cycle of 29 motets: No. 14

Canticum Canticorum, cycle of 29 motets: No. 15

Dum complerentur

Loquebantur variis linguis

Veni Creator Spiritus

Veni Sancte Spiritus

Magnificat quarti toni

Harry Christophers and The Sixteen continue their exploration of Palestrina's great work with the fifth disc in their celebrated series. This album features a selection of Palestrina’s music for Pentecost including his Missa Iam Christus astra ascenderat. Alongside the Mass are motets from the Song of Songs. The Song of Songs are among some of Palestrina’s most sublime and expressive works and, as with previous disc in the series, this album includes three of them. Dedicated to Pope Gregory XIII, Palestrina’s style of writing for these sensual texts demonstrates what variety and intensity of feeling can be conveyed with the simplest of means.

“The subtle ebb and flow of the speed in Vox dilecti, for example, exactly matches the quickening emotions at the sound of the voice of the beloved, and the ascending musical motives at the call for her to rise up and come hither at beautifully handled by the singers in Surge propera.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2014 ***

“The energy that The Sixeen bring to their Palestrina is admirable, though I continue to hope for a surprise in the format to keep the series on its toes.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2014

“The balance of voices, sensitivity to the text, ebb and flow of phrases, and uniformity of sound, all suggest that these discs will be listened to decades from now.” Early Music Today

Presto Discs of 2014


Coro Sixteen Palestrina - COR16124



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The Blossoming Vine

The Blossoming Vine

Italian Maestri in Poland

Anerio, G F:

Salve Regina

Litania deiparae Virginis

Missa Pulchra Es


Ego flos campi (Song of Salomon 2,1-3) from Sacrae Cantiones, libro primo (1601)

Osculetor me osculo

Regina Caeli


Veni Sponsa Christi

Beata es Virgo Maria

Dum esset rex

The Sixteen, Eamonn Dougan

The Sixteen and Associate Conductor, Eamonn Dougan, follow up the success of the first disc in their new Polish series with a new recording devoted to music from the court of Sigismund III Vasa. The second disc in the series explores a selection of fascinating music composed by the Italian maestri at the Polish Court of the 16th and early 17th centuries including works by Asprilio Pacelli (1570–1623), Vincenzo Bertolusi (c.1550-1608), and Giovanni Francesco Anerio (c.1567–1630).

The first disc in the series was devoted to one of the most eminent composers of the Polish 17th century, Bartłomiej Pękiel.

“There are two beautifully wrought Song of Songs settings, Ego flos campi and Osculetor me osculo, by Bertolusi, while Anerio’s Missa Pulchra Es is, by any standards, a monument by a master.” Sunday Times, 27th April 2014

“it is Pacelli who is responsible for the disc's treasure, the nine-minute Dum esset rex. Here, single voices replace thicker choral textures, with forces divided into five four-voice choirs. The result blends monumental architecture and athletic polychoral energy with a sensuousness born of the text.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2014

BBC Music Magazine

Choral & Song Choice - August 2014

Coro Polish Music - COR16123



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Music of the Kingdom

Music of the Kingdom



Homage: Final Dance


Missa Dum sacrum mysterium: Sanctus Carver: Benedictus

Gibbons, O:

Great King of Gods


Coronation Anthem No. 1, HWV258 'Zadok the Priest'


Sing and glorify heaven's high majesty


From stormy windes

This new compilation from The Sixteen brings together some of the finest works written for, and in celebration of, Monarchs and the Kingdom. From Turges in the 1400s to Britten in the 20th century, whether for magnificent state occasions or private devotion, the Kings and Queens of Great Britain have inspired and patronized some of our finest and most enduring music.

Included on this disc are two of Handel’s glorious Coronation Anthems written for the coronation of King George II; excerpts from Purcell’s music for Queen Mary; and the Sanctus from Robert Carver’s sumptuous Missa Dum Sacrum Mysterium which may well have been sung at the coronation of James V. Taking centre-stage however, is Tallis’s dazzling Sing and glorify – the English setting of Spem in alium which was adapted for King James I to honour his son Henry, the newly-anointed Prince of Wales.

On display are centuries of superb compositions from the CORO catalogue of recordings made so far, with the exception of one specially recorded track: William Byrd's fabulous O Lord, make thy servant Elizabeth.

Coro - COR16122



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