Over the last four decades, London’s Tallis Scholars have become unquestioned authorities of renaissance polyphony — “ethereal and yet full-blooded, uplifting and yet grounded,” declares The Guardian. Their sterling reputation stems both from a steady stream of first-class singers and from the inventive programming of founder Peter Phillips, who approaches historic texts with reverence for their past and energy for ensuring their relevance in the future. Phillips brings that philosophy to bear with War and Peace, a poignant program of music dealing with suffering, death, and redemption, delivered in remembrance of the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.
In Durham, the Tallis Scholars sing the program, fashioned as a mass, inside the soaring space of Duke Chapel. The ten Scholars begin with “L’homme armé,” the renaissance root of many subsequent masses, then proceed to the glorious Kyrie of Josquin’s own Missa l’Homme armé. They turn next to Arvo Pärt’s ethereal and deeply moving tribute to Mary Magdalene, The Woman with the Alabaster Box, and Tavener’s Song for Athene, sung at Princess Diana’s funeral. The concert ends with Spanish composer Victoria’s Libera Me (1603), a timeless prayer for the release of the dead that has created solace in the midst of tumult for more than four centuries.
- Monody: L’Homme armé
- Josquin: “Kyrie,” from Missa l’homme armé
- Guerrero: “Gloria,” from Missa batalla
- Pärt: The Woman with the Alabaster Box
- Jean Mouton: Quis Dabit Oculis
- Lobo: Versa Est
- Guerrero: “Credo,” from Missa batalla
- Victoria: “Requiem Aeternam,” from Missa pro Defunctis
- Guerrero: “Sanctus,” from Missa l’homme armé
- Tavener: Song for Athene
- Palestrina: “Agnus Dei,” from Missa Papae Marcelli
- Victoria: “Libera Me,” from Missa pro Defunctis
“The Scholars gave the contemporary compositions timeless nobility, while making the music of the sixteenth century feel feel utterly fresh, modern and alive.” – Ottawa Citizen