Theatre of Voices is a vocal ensemble founded by Paul Hillier in London in 1990. After spending some years in the US, the ensemble moved back to Europe, in Copenhagen, and was supposed to perform at the Ravenna Festival twice this year, on June 23 and 24. Due to the present restrictions to live performance, however, the ensemble is offering a video event instead, to be streamed on the ravennafestival.live website. The concert was recorded in the Church of Trinitatis, Copenhagen, in collaboration with the Copenhagen Baroque Festival, on June 23, precisely when their Sant’Apollinare Nuovo performance had been scheduled.
The programme of the two original concerts should have proposed Paul Hillier’s exploration of vocal ensemble music, alternating English sacred polyphony from the turn of the XVII century, when England was torn between Anglicanism and Catholicism, and the profane eclecticism of the contemporary New York scene. The programme of the new concert still includes music from William Byrd’s Cantiones quae ab argumento sacrae vocantur (published with Thomas Tallis in 1575), as well as his Fantasia à 6, for six violins, which Hillier arranged for six voices. These will be combined with a motet and Jeremiah’s Lamentations by Alfonso Ferrabosco, a composer from Bologna who, like Byrd, found employment at the court of Elizabeth I, and who considerably influenced the growth of English polyphony. As far as New York contemporary authors are concerned, the programme still includes Michael Gordon’s A Western, a virtuoso fantasy based on the 1952 film High Noon, starring Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly.
William Byrd (1543-1623)
Laudibus in sanctis
Emendemus in melius
Alfonso Ferrabosco (1543-1588)
Fantasia à 6 (arr. Paul Hillier)
Michael Gordon (1956)
(commissioned by Theatre of Voices and Coro Casa da Música, Porto)
coproduction Ravenna Festival, Copenhagen Baroque Festival