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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The Blossoming Vine

The Blossoming Vine

Italian Maestri in Poland


Anerio, G F:

Salve Regina

Litania deiparae Virginis

Missa Pulchra Es

Bertolusi:

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

Osculetor me osculo

Regina Caeli

Pacelli:

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

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Coro - COR16123

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Music of the Kingdom

Music of the Kingdom


includes:

Britten:

Homage: Final Dance

Carver:

Missa Dum sacrum mysterium: Sanctus Carver: Benedictus

Gibbons, O:

Great King of Gods

Handel:

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

Tallis:

Sing and glorify heaven's high majesty

Turges:

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.

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Coro - COR16122

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JS Bach: Lutheran Masses Volume II

JS Bach: Lutheran Masses Volume II


Bach, J S:

Mass in G major, BWV236

Cantata BWV79 'Gott der Herr ist Sonn und Schild'

Mass in A major, BWV234


Despite their exquisite beauty, featuring splendid choruses and deeply moving arias, there are relatively few recordings of Bach’s Lutheran Masses. On this second disc, which completes The Sixteen’s mini-series, the orchestra is joined by just eight singers to perform the Masses, allowing the beauty of the virtuosic vocal lines to be heard with absolute clarity.

Sometimes called ‘Missa brevis’, the Lutheran Masses feature almost no Lutheran material at all. Musically, they are almost entirely made up of movements borrowed from Bach’s Cantatas and their beauty is in the fact that they represent the composer’s own choice of his finest Cantata movements.

It is 20 years since The Sixteen last recorded such a wealth of Bach’s music, making this a uniquely exciting project. Volume I was released in October 2013.

“This is a fascinating lesson in the art of creative transcription by a master transcriber. Both Masses bring out the relaxed and avuncular in Christophers...With scrupulous instrumental underpinning, a natural recorded sound, and Doyle's ravishing 'Qui tollis', this is a worthy successor to Vol. 1.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2014 ****

“The Sixteen could not be better suited to the genial abstraction of the sunny Mass in G major, BWV236...There are more refined and exquisite performances...but there are few as unassuming and natural as this. Strongly recommended.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2014

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - June 2014

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Coro - COR16120

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The Voice of the Turtle Dove

The Voice of the Turtle Dove


Davy, R:

Ah, mine heart, remember thee well

O Domine caeli terraeque creator

Mundy, W:

Vox Patris caelestis

Adolescentulus sum ego

Sheppard, J:

Libera nos 1 & II

In manus tuas I

In manus tuas III

Gaude gaude gaude Maria


In 2014 The Sixteen returns to its grass roots for the repertoire of the 14th Choral Pilgrimage tour as it revisits the golden age of Renaissance polyphony in England. In this new programme The Sixteen presents a stunning selection of music by John Sheppard, Richard Davy and William Mundy including Sheppard’s magnificent Gaude, gaude, gaude Maria, and gem of the Tudor period Libera nos; Davy’s monumental O Domine caeli terraeque creator which was written in one day at Magdalen College, Oxford; and Mundy’s great antiphon Vox patris caelestis.

“the soloists do well by [Davy's] Ah, mine heart, and Mundy's Vox patris caelestis, engagingly fleet of foot, belies its length and concludes the disc very satisfyingly.” Gramophone Magazine, April 2014

“The artistry of The Sixteen makes this disc worthwhile. More satisfying, however, would be if the group would re-engage with under- or never-recorded Tudor masterpieces, rather than with its own earlier performances.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2014 ****

“these performances have about them an aura of musical supremacy, which, coupled with the choir's technical magnifience and the recording's sumptuous sound, makes this an outstanding disc, even by the phenomenally high standards The Sixteen has long since made its own.” International Record Review, May 2014

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Coro - COR16119

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John Tavener: Ikon of Light

John Tavener: Ikon of Light

Special Commemorative Edition


Tavener:

Ikon of Light

Hymn to the Mother of God

The Lamb

The Tiger

Eonia

Today the Virgin


"I consider Ikon of Light to be one of my most important works…I recall the splendour and magic of the sound of The Sixteen at the recording, and in particular, at hearing them sing Eonia for the first time. Heartfelt thanks to Harry Christophers and The Sixteen." Sir John Tavener.

Sir John Tavener was one of Britain’s leading composers of the last 50 years. To commemorate his extraordinary life and works The Sixteen is re-releasing its acclaimed recording Ikon of Light in a special limited edition slip-cased version with a newly commissioned booklet essay. The new version will only be available for one year from December 2013.

The album was originally conceived for Sir John’s 50th birthday and covers a wide range of his celebrated choral output including Eonia, which Sir John especially requested The Sixteen record, alongside Ikon of Light, The Lamb and The Tyger.

Despite the mystic beauty of his music, John Tavener's place in Western music was a controversial one. His desire to create musical ikons for a time in which he believed 'man had lost his belief not only in God, but also in himself' was provocative. Yet part of the attraction of his music must surely arise from its symbolic nature, a reflection of his deeply-held Orthodox faith.

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JS Bach: Lutheran Masses Volume I

JS Bach: Lutheran Masses Volume I


Bach, J S:

Mass in G minor, BWV235

Cantata BWV102 'Herr, deine Augen sehen nach dem Glauben'

Mass in F major, BWV233


Despite their exquisite beauty, featuring splendid choruses and deeply moving arias, there are relatively few recordings of Bach’s Lutheran Masses. On this new collection The Sixteen orchestra is joined by just eight singers to perform the Masses, allowing the beauty of the virtuosic vocal lines to be heard with absolute clarity. Sometimes called ‘Missa brevis’, the Lutheran Masses feature almost no Lutheran material at all. Musically, they are almost entirely made up of movements borrowed from Bach’s Cantatas and their beauty is in the fact that they represent the composer’s own choice of his finest Cantata movements. It is 20 years since The Sixteen last recorded such a wealth of Bach’s music, making this a uniquely exciting project. Volume II will be released in the spring of 2014.

“The Sixteen and Christophers performed these works [at King's Place's Bach Unwrapped], with small forces – two voices to a part – and an expert instrumental ensemble who contribute precise, highly energised solo playing and continuo.” The Observer, 6th October 2013 ****

“the freshness, agility and precision of the performances, animated by Christophers's buoyant direction, are a constant pleasure.” Gramophone Magazine, December 2013

“Christophers positions himself halfway between the Purcells and Amsterdamers, settling on a choir of eight voices with predictably transparent results...Christophers's customary precision and gracefulness are evident throughout.” BBC Music Magazine, January 2014 ****

“Collectively, the soloists form an agile and efficient choir, and this is essential in music that is often technically difficult...The performances are excellent and the sound quality pleasingly clear and natural.” International Record Review, May 2014

Coro - COR16115

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Palestrina Volume 4

Palestrina Volume 4


Palestrina:

Missa O magnum mysterium

A solis ortu cardine

Jubilate Deo

Ad te Levavi Oculos Meos

Ave Regina caelorum a 8

Fasciculus myrrhae dilectus meus

Ecce tu pulcher es

Introduit me rex

Magnificat Quinti toni

Deus enim firmavit

Surge, illuminare


This album features a selection of Palestrina’s music for Christmas including his largely unknown masterpiece, the Missa O magnum mysterium. Also presented are several unusual hymn settings amongst them A solis ortu cardine—a setting of a chant hymn for Christmas morning.

Alongside the hymns 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.

Completing this recording are three double-choir motets (a genre in which Palestrina was unsurpassed), Ave Regina, Iubilate Deo and Surge illuminare.

“[Palestrina's] soaring, arcing lines and setting with conviction of the Mass and other liturgical and biblical texts are wondrously realised in The Sixteen's continuing exploration of the composer.” The Independent on Sunday, 8th September 2013 ****

“The Sixteen turn in a spirited, at times even sprightly performance [of the O magnum mysterium mass]” Gramophone Magazine, November 2013

“In these performances there are fine examples of large-scale architectural sense, as in the driving clarity of Surge illuminare, and of textural sensitivity in the brilliantly perky imitation of the 'Sicut erat' section of the Magnificat...The singing throughout is well-blended and precisely tuned.” BBC Music Magazine, April 2014 ****

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Bartłomiej Pękiel: Missa Concertata La Lombardesca

Bartłomiej Pękiel: Missa Concertata La Lombardesca


Pekiel:

Audite morales

Dulcis amor Jesu

Resonet in laudibus

Magnum nomen Domini

Ave Maria

Assumpta est Maria

O Adoranda Trinitas

Nativitas tua

Missa Concertata 'La Lombardesca'

Missa a 14 (Kyrie & Gloria)


The Sixteen, Eamonn Dougan

Associate Conductor of The Sixteen, Eamonn Dougan, makes his full conducting debut on CORO in the first of an exciting new series exploring some of Poland’s greatest choral composers.

Bartłomiej Pękiel was one of the most eminent Polish composers of choral music of the 17th century. He served at the court in Warsaw from around 1633 and was assistant to Marco Scacchi at the Chapel Royal in Warsaw before becoming Kapellmeister himself from 1645-1655 - the first non-Italian to hold the post. He then moved to Wawel Cathedral in Krakow where he wrote for the Rorantist vocal ensemble.

Just 29 of his compositions survive today and on this new album by The Sixteen under the direction of Associate Conductor, Eamonn Dougan, we present 10 of his works for choir and orchestra including the Missa Concertata La Lombardesca resplendent with double choir, violins and sackbuts and the extraordinary and dramatic Audite mortales.

In this recording dedicated solely to his works, Pękiel shows himself to be a skilled craftsman, mastering the techniques taught by the Italian maestri, but also imbuing his works with his own particular harmonic colour in all the varied styles in which he writes.

“The sound world, very loosely, brings to mind Monteverdi. The exciting dissonances and strange harmonic colours set Pękiel in a category of his own.” The Observer, 26th May 2013

“The first native to break the Italian monopoly on top musical positions in 17th-century Poland, Pekiel wrote attractive (and harmonically daring) music in the style of Monteverdi and Buxtehude.” The Times, 1st June 2013 ***

“The richness and sheer ambition of the latter pieces, such as the Missa Concertata La Lombardesca, testify to a talent worthy of standing alongside Monteverdi and Cavalli.” Sunday Times, 16th June 2013

“The choral sound is well-focused in the men-only Ave Maria and the mini-duets for sopranos (Charlotte Mobbs and Alice Gribbin) are stylish. Apart from the edgy haute-conte (high tenor) solos in the Carissimi-influenced rhetoric of Audite mortals, it's a delightful performance.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2013 ****

“The Sixteen, here numbering 17 singers plus a 13-member instrumental ensemble, turn in polished performances, clearly enjoying the many opportunities for the solo work with which Pekiel provides them.” International Record Review, September 2013

“This craftsman's masterful music is presented here with an assured charisma by the mighty Sixteen...[Dougan] draws typically golden performances from his vocalists and mixed instrumental ensemble...Sit back and relish this treasure-trove which has clearly been prepared with passion.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2013

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - September 2013

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The Queen of Heaven

The Queen of Heaven


 

Regina caeli

plainsong

Allegri:

Miserere mei, Deus

Its Evolution

MacMillan:

The Strathclyde Motets: Dominus dabit benignitatem

The Strathclyde Motets: O Radiant Dawn

The Strathclyde Motets: Videns Dominus

Miserere

Palestrina:

Missa Regina caeli: Agnus Dei I-III

Improperium exspectavit cor meum

Stabat mater

Vineam meam non custodivi

Regina coeli

Pulchrae sunt genae tuae

Missa Regina caeli: Kyrie


Now, in its 13th year, The Choral Pilgrimage stands as testament to Harry Christophers’ ongoing mission to bring a wide variety of sacred music back to the kind of buildings for which it was written.

Allegri’s Miserere is the single most famous piece of sacred music ever written. Although it is instantly recognisable with its haunting tones, mythology surrounds it. This year’s Choral Pilgrimage allows Harry Christophers to explore its evolution and enduring appeal. This new version of the Allegri Miserere entitled ‘Its Evolution’ as performed on the Pilgrimage has been recorded and appears on this disc.

James MacMillan dedicated his powerful and emotional setting of the Miserere to Harry Christohers and The Sixteen who premiered the work in 2010 and recorded it shortly afterwards. Alongside Allegri, MacMillan is one of the few composer to ever set the full Miserere to music. His exquisite version is one of the highlights of this year’s programme.

Arguably the greatest composer of liturgical music of all time Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina is often billed as ‘The Prince of Music’ and by some ‘The Saviour of Church Music’. The 2013 tour includes some of his wonderful music for Easter including the Stabat Mater a8 and excerpts from the Missa Regina caeli.

Coro - COR16118

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Monteverdi: Selva Morale e Spirituale Volume 3

Monteverdi: Selva Morale e Spirituale Volume 3


Monteverdi:

Laudate Dominum (Secondo)

Iste confessor

Magnificat (Secondo)

Credidi propter quod locutus sum

Pianto della Madonna 'Iam moriar, mi fili' (sopra il Lamento dell'Arianna), SV 288

Beatus vir (second setting)

È questa vita un lampo

Confitebor tibi Domine (Secondo)

Memento Domine David

Laudate pueri (Secondo)

Salve Regina (Terzo)

Magnificat Primo


The last of three volumes of The Sixteen’s series devoted to Monteverdi’s Selva morale e spirituale.

Without doubt, Monteverdi was the greatest of the early baroque European composers. He revolutionised the music of the theatre and the church by his dramatic and imaginative use of voices and instruments and by his daring harmonies and rhythms. Next to his Vespers of 1610, the Selva morale e spirituale of 1641 is his most significant and virtuosic collection of sacred music. Monteverdi stretches every singer’s versatility to the limit in this demanding but exhilarating music. Included on this final volume are the eight part Magnificat (Primo) - one of the most impressive of all Monteverdi’s settings with the added richness of doubling strings; the old style Credidi and Memento featuring the full choir; and the exquisitely beautiful soprano solo, Pianto della Madonna ‘Iam moriar, mi fili’, performed here by Grace Davidson.

“As we might expect, The Sixteen performances are lively and nicely tuned...Throughout, the instrumental playing is sensitive and supportive” BBC Music Magazine, July 2013 ****

“There is in fact some very vigorous singing at times, sometimes a little too vigorous...The instrumental ensemble is excellent and there is some truly outstanding continuo colour throughout; David Miller's chitarrone in particular has much to do with this.” International Record Review, June 2013

“The choral, small ensemble and solo singing is always as accomplished as one expects from The Sixteen but singers benefit immeasurably from the subtly supportive continuo playing” Gramophone Magazine, July 2013

Coro Monteverdi Selva Morale e Spirituale - COR16109

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