Harry Christophers and The Sixteen embark on their second new commissions project with the Genesis Foundation this time featuring works inspired by The Spanish Mystics - St Teresa of Ávila and St John of the Cross.
O Guiding Night is the fascinating result of The Sixteen’s second major collaboration with the Genesis Foundation and features six new works by contemporary British composers Tarik O’Regan, Roderick Williams and Ruth Byrchmore. The new works are all inspired by the poetry of two principals of The Spanish Mystics movement - St. Teresa of Ávila and St. John of the Cross.
The Spanish Mystics were major figures in the Catholic Reformation in Spain during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Their attempts to express in words their experience of a mystical communion with Christ produced some exquisite poetry and writings which went on to influence and shape the Spanish language.
All three of the composers featured on this disc have won critical acclaim for their work in recent years and accolades include GRAMMY Nominations and Composer of the Year Awards as well as numerous commissions and broadcasts on BBC Radio 3 and 4. Please see following page for more information on each composer.
The Sixteen and the Genesis Foundation last collaborated on the Padre Pio Prayer recording (COR16071), which featured commissions by James MacMillan, Roxanna Panufnik and Will Todd. As well as the O Guiding Night release, the ensemble is about to embark on a new project, supported by the Foundation, to find the UK’s next generation of ensemble choral singers. For more information on the Genesis Sixteen project visit www.thesixteen.com.
The Dark Night
O Vera Digna Hostia
O Guiding Night
Prayer of St. Teresa of Ávila
Beloved, All Things Ceased
Let Nothing Trouble You
“Thanks to the visceral commitment of Harry Christophers and his choir, and the refulgent beauty of the music, the listener will connect body and soul with these sensuous performances. It's hard not to be moved by the wholehearted expression and emotionally engaging styles of each composer's work, especially given the passion of the music-making here.”
“Most conservative in idiom are those of Roderick Williams, moonlighting from his day-job as a baritone. His St John setting O Guiding Night is striking for the instinctive word-setting and audibly engaging the singers...O'Regan relies on an ululating underlay of voices to evoke the erotic, visionary nature of St John's clandestine nocturnal assignation. Harry Christophers and The Sixteen nail it expertly.”
“Each composer has set the same three texts and much of the satisfaction of this programme derives from comparing their differing word-setting approaches. In general terms, Tarik O'Regan favours repeating, hypnotic ostinatos, whereas Ruth Byrchmore's approach is more intense and dramatic. Roderick Williams's innate lyricism bursts through and sounds the most naturally and comfortably singable.”
“As always, The Sixteen's performances are impeccable, with director Harry Christophers careful to allow the import of the texts and, in the case of the St Teresa and St John settings, the different viewpoints of each composer, to register fully through a careful yet by no means micro-managed deployment of tonal balance and vocal colouring.”