We are passionate about being able to share our music with as wide and diverse an audience as possible; one of the ways we like to do this is through our videos. Our first video was ‘Veni, Veni Emmanuel’, released in December 2014; we have since released many more through our YouTube channel. Follow us on Facebook to keep up to date with video blogs from our tours, updates about our latest projects, and to have a sneak-peak into life within the group!
The latest videos that we recorded in Ely cathedral were as part of the cathedral’s #TheWay campaign for Lent 2018. This time we recorded 5 videos up by the altar of the cathedral. It was an amazing experience to see the whole length of the building stretching in the gloom.
The first video from #TheWay is Thomas Tallis’ Te Lucis Ante Terminum, a setting of a text taken from the compline service.
The second video from #TheWay is William Byrd’s well-known setting of Ave Verum. We chose this simple 4 voice work to open our second-ever concert, in Cambridge back in the spring of 2014, and thus it was a very appropriate choice to start our CD Launch Concert in London four years later.
Most of our repertoire is taken from the renaissance and contemporary compositions but sometimes we like to perform works from in between these two eras and explore works not written specifically for men’s voices. Rheinberger’s Abendlied is one such piece. Literally a song for the evening, the first version of Abendlied was written when Josef Rheinberger was only 15 years old.
The last two videos from #TheWay campaign are both extracts of mass settings. Byrd’s Mass for Five voices is an astonishing compositional achievement, alongside the Masses for three and four voices. The Agnus Dei as the final movement is in some senses the culmination of these settings and features two short trios before the whole group is joined together for the final statement of Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi: dona nobis pacem.
The final video from #TheWay campaign, released on Easter day, is the Gloria from Machaut’s La Messe de Notre Dame. This is the earliest surviving complete mass setting and is one of the earliest pieces that the group performs.
One of our favourite moments during the recording of English Motets was combining all 7 of our voices in one of Sheppard’s most precious gems: Libera Nos II.
Free us, save us, do justly with us, O Blessed Trinity.
Recorded in the dead of night in the place of our founding, Trinity College Chapel in Cambridge, we present ‘If ye love me’. Thomas Tallis’ perfect and simple setting of words from John’s Gospel is one of the tracks on our new release English Motets, released over Easter 2018.
We were delighted to be invited back to Ely to record three of our favourite pieces for advent for the cathedral’s #aChristmasMiracle campaign. Our previous video recordings in Ely were made in the lush acoustic of the Lady Chapel, and this time we were delighted to record our advent pieces under the cathedral’s beautiful octagon.
The first release is the beautiful and simple traditional advent carol by Praetorius, ‘Es ist ein Ros entsprungen’.
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The second release is a work by our very own Owain Park, a setting a poem by Francis Quarles’ poem ‘On the Infancy of our Savour’.
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The third and last of the Christmas releases from Ely is a lovely arrangement by Philip Lawson of the classic carol ‘Away in a Manger’.
Allegri’s Miserere with Blackburn Cathedral Choristers – Spring Tour 2017
In March 2017 we were thrilled to be able to hold workshops and perform live with the choristers of Blackburn’s vibrant cathedral. It was a rare opportunity for us to explore music written for more than 6 or 7 parts and to share some of our passion for Italian music with future generations of church musicians. The work features a mis-transposed quartet which famously includes several top Cs and this was sung beautifully by 4 of the older choristers from the choir at Blackburn while the other 5 parts were made up by using ourselves as the ATB parts of the SSATB choir. Listen out for the wonderful chord on the word ‘TUNC’ near to the end of this well-known work.
In the Spring of 2017 we teamed up with Ely Cathedral for their #LiveHolyWeek campaign to record five videos for Holy Week in the amazing Lady Chapel in Ely.
The first of these videos is Thomas Tomkins’ When David Heard, a lament with text from the Old Testament.
When David heard that Absalom was slain
He went up into his chamber over the gate and wept, and thus he said:
my son, my son, O Absalom my son, would God I had died for thee!
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The second in Ely Cathedral’s #LiveHolyWeek initiative is Gesualdo’s Tenebrae Factae Sunt from his Responsories for Good Friday.
Tenebrae factae sunt, dum crucifixissent Jesum Judaei:
et circa horam nonam exclamavit Jesus voce magna:
Deus meus, ut quid me dereliquisti?
Et inclinato capite, emisit spiritum.
V. Exclamans Jesus voce magna ait:
Pater, in manus tuas commendo spiritum meum.
Darkness fell when the Jews crucified Jesus:
and about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice:
My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
And he bowed his head and gave up the ghost.
V. Jesus cried with a loud voice and said:
Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.
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Here is Byrd’s Miserere Mei, Deus, a beautiful setting for five voices.
Miserere mei, Deus,
secundum magnam misericordiam tuam;
et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum,
dele iniquitatem meam.
Have mercy upon me, O God,
after thy great goodness:
according to the multitude of thy mercies do away mine offences.
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Despite being titled as a sextet we really enjoy being able to explore repertoire for fewer and more voices. Our director Owain joins the basses in this rendition of Vide, Homo by Orlando di Lassus.
Vide homo quae pro te patior,
Ad te clamo, qui pro te morior,
Vide poenas quibus afficior;
Vide clavos quibus confodior;
Non est dolor sicut quo crucior;
Et cum sit tantus dolor exterior,
Intus tamen dolor est gravior,
Tam ingratum cum te experior.
See, O man, what things I endure for you;
To you I cry, I who am dying for you;
See the pains with which I am afflicted;
See the nails with which I am pierced.
There is no suffering like unto that with which I am tormented.
And though the outward suffering be so great,
Yet is the inward suffering heavier still,
When I find you to be so ungrateful!
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The final video in our Holy Week series Pawel Łukaszewski’s Recessit Pastor Noster. The group has a very close attachment with settings of the Tenebrae Responsories as they comprised the first concert we ever performed. Since then we have enjoyed discovering and performing other settings of these texts, including several settings from the Maundy Thursday Responsories which were specially written for our 2016 Composition Competition. Łukaszewski’s uniquely atmospheric setting of this text from the Responsories for Holy Saturday from his Responsoria Tenebrae (2010), is one of our favourites.
Recessit pastor noster fons aquae vivae
ad cuius transitum sol obscuratus est:
Nam et ille captus est, qui captivum tenebat primum hominem:
hodie portas mortis et seras pariter Salvator noster disrupit.
V: Destruxit quidem claustra inferni
et subvertit potentias diaboli.
Our Shepherd is departed, the fount of living water,
At whose passing the sun was darkened,
For even he was made captive who was holding captive the first man.
Today the gates of death and their bars as well our Savior has destroyed.
V: Indeed He has destroyed the strongholds of the underworld
And he has overthrown the powers of the devil.
Our ‘Live in Concert’ series gives us a chance to share some of our favourite repertoire. The audio is always taken from live performances and sometimes the video is made up from a selection of concerts and sessions on a tour.
The first ‘Live in Concert’ video in 2018 is Monteverdi’s madrigal ‘Sfogava con le stelle’. We really enjoyed performing in the beautiful St. Mary’s church in Warwick, where we performed a programme of sacred and secular music inspired by madrigalian themes for Leamington Music.
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Our Epiphany instalment for our ‘Live in Concert’ series is a wonderful carol by Herbert Howells. Howells’s music is very close to all of our hearts and we were really pleased to be able to perform some of his music during our Christmas tour in 2016. This performance was filmed live during our concert at St John’s Smith Square.
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Jonathan Rathbone’s stunning setting of ‘The Oxen’ provides a perfect festive instalment for our ‘Live in Concert’ series. It was filmed in venues across our ‘Veni, Veni Emmanuel’ Tour in Advent 2016 and features live audio from our concert in St Martin’s church in Salisbury.
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Two Spirituals arranged by Dale Adelmann are the second instalment in our ‘Live in Concert’ series, recorded in the beautiful church of St James the Greater in Leicester and featuring video recorded in a range of venues across our second Summer Tour!
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‘Deliver me from mine enemies’ is the first instalment in our ‘Live in Concert’ series. It was recorded during the fifth concert of our 2016 Summer Tour, in St James the Greater in Leicester.
In December 2014 we released our first music video, a recording of ‘Veni, Veni Emmanuel’ arranged by Phillip Lawson.