Review of German debut

We’re grateful to Andrew Benson-Wilson for writing this review of our first concert in Germany, given as part of Tage Alter Musik Regensburg in June 2017.

“The late night (10.45pm) concert in the Schottenkirche St. Jakob (with its extraordinary sculptures) was given by the young British a cappella vocal group The Gesualdo Six, directed by Owain Park, making their German debut with their programme Journey through the Music of the English Masters. With composers ranging from Dunstable to Tomkins they explored some of the finest music ever produced from the British Isles in a well-balanced and varied programme. They were particularly good at the distinctively English false relations heard in Taverner’s Quemadmodum and Loquebantur from Tallis, the master of such scrunchy harmonic twists and turns. His cadence on Alleluia must be amongst the most beautiful in the history of music, almost equalled by the final cadence of his Suscipe quaeso Domine. These pieces were contrasted by the relative simplicity of Sheppard’s Libera nos II and White’s Christe, qui lux es et dies. The emotional intensity and changes in volume in, for example, Byrd’s Vigilate, were well handled, sounding completely natural to the music. The two countertenors, Guy James and Alex Chance were very impressive. The audience response was particularly enthusiastic, and rightly so.”

Read the complete review of the festival here: https://andrewbensonwilson.org/2017/07/12/regensburg2017/

Owain interviewed by Classical Events

Leading up to the group’s third Summer Tour, Classical Events interviewed Owain covering everything from the early days to our most memorable performances. Read the full interview here.

Interviewer: What are your most memorable performances?
Owain: Performing Arvo Pärt’s ‘Passio’ with the composer in attendance will live long in the memory, as will our first concert in Germany, which was standing-room only – a surprise to us given as the concert kicked off at 10.30pm! We really enjoy bringing our music to rural venues in the U.K. and have sung in some beautiful places, including Clodock and Dore Abbey on our first two Summer Tours. Singing Gesualdo’s Tenebrae Responsories in King’s College Chapel and performing Italian Madrigals in a room full of paintings by Caravaggio in the National Gallery are two of my personal favourites, but I also can’t forget the numerous cricket matches we’ve managed to play – that really is something the group can always agree on!

A look back at our 2017 Spring Season

Guy James reflects on our first concerts in the North of England, CD recording and performance at the SJSS Holy Week Festival 2017.

An early start heralded the beginning of our Spring projects, with me meeting Owain, Joseph, and the familiar rented 7-seater just outside Cambridge on Sunday morning. Engineering works on the Great Western Railway, a hasty U-turn and three hours of driving later saw more of us than we were expecting arriving together in the car in Monmouth for a concert as part of Wye Valley Music’s 2016/17 season. Our programme spanned the whole range of our repertoire, featuring several pieces that would be recorded later in the week! The church and Monmouthshire were stunning and we really enjoyed performing there and seeing some familiar faces in the audience, many of whom had travelled down from Herefordshire. Being one of the members of the group who suffers from standing at a normal height, I then found myself in the familiar position of being pressed up against Josh and our luggage in the back of the car for the drive back to Cambridge to begin our much-anticipated recording in the beautifully sunny Trinity College.

We were very happy to be recording some of our very favourite repertoire, that of the English Renaissance Masters. The whole group have grown up singing and loving the works of such composers as William Byrd, Thomas Tallis, John Sheppard and Orlando Gibbons and it was a real privilege to be able to work intensely on their music with Adrian Peacock and David Hinitt in Trinity College Chapel where we gave our first concert over three years ago. This work completed we headed off to further our first ever Spring Tour with a concert in Kingston Parish Church on one of the most beautiful days of the year, preceded by tea and croquet kindly provided by our very generous hosts.

The following days saw our tour continue, for the first time headed northwards! One of several highlights for me included working with the brilliant Blackburn Cathedral choristers on Allegri’s Miserere as part of a concert featuring highlights from our tour repertoire. The cathedral is a wonderful modern building, perfect for some of our more ethereal pieces and I particularly enjoyed performing Lukaszewski’s Recessit Pastor Noster alongside two of Bach’s Passiontide Chorales in the warm acoustic. The next day brought a further personal highlight, a day in Bolton alongside the energetic and inspiring Bolton Music Service, enjoying performances by many local amateur choirs and ensembles before a workshop with the gathered company and a short performance by ourselves. It was marvellous to see local live music making in such rude health and to see so many people brought together by music and performance supporting each other. Long may this ethos and such friendships flourish.

The next week we concluded our spring projects with a return to St John’s Smith Square for their inaugural Holy Week Festival alongside Tenebrae and several of our other favourite artists. Our concert featured several modern pieces including the London Premiere of Owain Park’s Sequence: ‘In Parenthesis’. Requiring the unusual forces of 5 voices and a narrator I have had the opportunity to listen to this piece several times in churches across England and it has quickly become one of my favourite pieces in our repertoire. It was a perfect conclusion to our spring projects to hear it performed in London for the first time alongside Thomas Tallis’s Lamentations of Jeremiah in a very moving exploration of loss and lament for Holy Week.


Josh Cooter writes about Arvo Pärt’s Passio

We were incredibly honoured to be asked to continue our connection with St John’s Smith Square to perform Arvo Part’s ‘Passio’ in the opening concert of London’s International A Cappella Choral Competition on the 25th June. We were thrilled that the composer himself was able to attend to see us perform the parts of Jesus, Pilate and the Evangelist quartet, with Owain conducting the soloists and instrumentalists alongside Stephen Layton and the Holst Singers in this remarkable setting of the Passion story. It truly was a very special evening for all involved!


Alexander Chance on our performance at Raynham Hall

Early in June we made a trip past Cambridge on to King’s Lynn, and thence into the depths of the gorgeous sun-soaked Norfolk countryside, to Raynham Hall. This is the home of Lord and Lady Townshend, who host an annual summer concert series in its stunning marble Great Hall. We had been invited to perform by the series’ musical advisor, Michael Chance.

After a delicious lunch, we had a chance to test and delight in the concert hall’s marvellous acoustic for several hours, before our important pre-concert ritual of garden cricket, featuring, in a testament to the depths of the Townshends’ cupboards, the rare luxury of actual stumps and bails.

The concert programme itself seemed a fitting one for a sultry May evening – Italian madrigals by Monteverdi and Gesualdo, as well as lesser-known but equally joyous works by their contemporaries Gastoldi, Anerio and Giovanelli. We sang to a greatly appreciative audience, who had travelled from all corners of this glorious and often under-visited county (where I lived with my family for ten years); the packed room did nothing to dampen the acoustic. We are immensely grateful to the Townshends for hosting us so warmly and generously, and we hope to return in the future.

Arvo Pärt’s ‘Passio’ in SJSS

We are really looking forward to presenting Arvo Pärt’s stunning Passio in St John’s Smith Square with Stephen Layton and the Holst Singers on 25 June. This concert will launch the London International A Cappella Choir Competition 2017, which celebrates Arvo Pärt as its featured composer.

G6 in SJSS - LIACC 2015

Completed in 1982, Passio is one of Pärt’s most popular works and employs his truly original tintinnabuli style.

Tickets can be booked here: https://www.sjss.org.uk/book?873571079.

Full competition details can be found at: liaccc.org.uk

G6 in SJSS April 2016

#LiveHolyWeek – Videos from Ely Lady Chapel

We teamed up with Ely Cathedral to release five videos for Holy Week as part of their #LiveHolyWeek initiative. We really enjoyed getting to sing in the incredible acoustic of the Ely Lady Chapel, and we’re very pleased to be able to share the results with you.

We recorded pieces by Lassus, Tomkins, Byrd, Gesualdo and Łukaszewski, and they can all now be found on our new videos page.

Here is one of those videos. #LiveHolyWeek gave us the perfect opportunity to record for the first time all seven members of the group singing together, performing Vide, Homo by Lassus.

Spring is here!

An early start heralded the beginning of our Spring projects, with me meeting Owain, Joseph, and the familiar rented 7-seater just outside Cambridge on Sunday morning. Engineering works, a hasty U-turn and three hours of driving later saw more of us than we were expecting arriving in the car in Monmouth for our first concert of 2017 on home soil, in Wye Valley Music’s 2016/17 season, with a lovely programme covering the whole range of our repertoire. Featuring several pieces that help us with preparations for recording this week! The church and Monmouthshire were stunning and we really enjoyed performing there and seeing some familiar faces, many of whom had travelled down from Herefordshire. Being one of the members of the group who suffers from standing at a normal height, I found myself in the familiar position of being pressed up against Josh and our luggage in the back of the car for the drive back to Cambridge, where we are now installed and from where we are very excited to bring you news from our recording in the beautifully sunny Trinity College over the next few days!

IMG_0913

Our first venue, the beautiful Priory Church in Monmouth.

IMG_0980

Trinity chapel in the sun.

IMG_0952

The set up begins in the chapel vestry – miles of cabling and a welcome return to working with group favourite David Hinitt accompanied by our producer Adrian Peacock.

Spring Season

We are looking forward to a busy spring season, with our first performances in the North of England as well as in The Hague and at the Wye Valley Music Festival. We are also recording our first CD of English Renaissance Polyphony, before appearing at the inaugural Holy Week Festival at St John’s Smith Square, in partnership with Tenebrae.

Performance Dates

– 22 March: REMA European Day of Early Music in The Hague | Website

–  26 March at 3pm in Monmouth Priory Church | Website

–  30 March at 6.30pm in Kingston Parish Church | Tickets available by emailing Linda Rimmer

–  31 March at 6.30pm in Blackburn Cathedral (featuring the Cathedral Choristers) | Tickets

–  1 April at 5pm in Victoria Hall, Bolton (concert and workshop for Bolton Choirs Festival) | Tickets

–  2 April at 7pm in St Ann’s Church, Manchester | Tickets

–  10 April at 6pm in St John’s Smith Square (part of the Holy Week Festival) | Website

G6 Northern Tour 2017 Poster

Northern Tour 2017

St Anne's Manchester.jpgWe are delighted to be performing our first concerts in the North of England, taking place in Blackburn, Bolton and Manchester 31 March – 2 April.

“The coolest vocal group around – revel in the gorgeous sounds, the spellbinding music, the programmes with something for everyone. Don’t miss them, I guarantee you’ll have the best evening ever.” – John Rutter

– – –

DATES

–  Friday 31 March at 6.30pm in Blackburn Cathedral. Featuring the Cathedral Choristers in a joint performance of Allegri’s stunning Miserere mei, Deus | Tickets (£8/Free under-18s)

–  Saturday 1 April at 5pm in Victoria Hall, Bolton. Concert and workshop for Bolton Choirs Festival | Tickets (£6/Free under-18s)

–  Sunday 2 April at 7pm in St Ann’s Church, Manchester. Featuring a work by local composer Douglas Mason as well as folksong and light music arrangements  | Tickets (£8/Free under-18s)

– – –

ABOUT THE GROUP

The Gesualdo Six are a vocal consort directed by Owain Park. Formed in March 2014, the ensemble has since gone on to perform numerous concerts around the UK, including two summer tours.

Whilst focusing on early music, the group often programmes modern works, including pieces by Joanna Marsh, Sarah Rimkus and Paweł Łukaszewski in their recent concerts.

The group were St John’s Smith Square Young Artists 2015-2016, following a highly competitive audition process. The scheme invests in promising artists who show “enormous talent and energy”, endeavouring to help shape their futures.

The group’s first recording will be an album of English renaissance polyphony, due for release in late 2017.

– – –

Click here for Facebook Events

– – –

 

We are looking for some sponsorship with this venture. Read more in a blog post from Owain here: http://thinknowltd.com/guest-blog-owain-park-director-of-the-gesualdo-six/

Christmas Tour 2016 Review

Now we’re safely nestled in the first week of 2017, it feels like a good time to have a little reminisce about our recent Advent exploits. We were very proud to perform abroad for the first time in Monaco and also  enjoyed returning to Salisbury and St. John’s Smith Square, a venue that has felt like a second home this last year. We also returned to the nation’s airwaves, and were pleased to be reunited with Sean Rafferty for Radio 3’s ‘In-Tune’. Performing on the radio can be nerve-wracking but we always love the ‘In-Tune experience’ and we will look forward to going back to perform there again, hopefully sometime over the coming year.

Our ‘Veni, Veni Emmanuel’ tour repertoire featured music by many of our favourite composers including J.S. Bach, William Byrd, Thomas Tallis, Herbert Howells, Jonathan Rathbone and John Rutter. We also performed works written for The King’s Singers and Opus Anglicanum, plus John Tavener’s stunning setting of ‘The Lamb’.

We wish all our supporters and followers a happy and prosperous 2017. We can’t wait to share with you all some of the very exciting developments that we’re currently working hard on bringing to you all over the next 12 months!

g6-december-2016-poster

Christmas Tour Blog – Day 6

Mike writes about our concert in SJSS and the last day of The Gesualdo Six’s 2016 season:

Saturday morning brought with it something not yet experienced on this tour: a lie-in, and a much needed one, after a lively wine and perudo evening after our Salisbury concert. The group stumbled blinking from their dens at times between 10 and 11, to enjoy a delicious Wicks family breakfast, before heading off to Salisbury station and back to the big smoke. Three pieces of left luggage and one slightly broken family car later (Sam is stronger than he looks), we were on the train to London.

We got to Smith Square just before 3pm, and rendezvoused with our sleep-addled director, who was already one concert down for the day, having travelled 200 miles to conduct Cambridge Chorale in a Christmas carol concert at 11am that morning (glutton for punishment that he is). With that in mind, we had a leisurely rehearsal getting used to singing in the venue again, which after 5 concerts there this year, feels like home for us. A couple of hours later, we went for the customary pre-concert Pizza Express, and hurried back afterwards to try and dodge the miserable weather.

No such misery in the concert, which was a tremendously enjoyable experience. The SJSS audience, bolstered by friends and relations, was wonderfully appreciative, and it felt quite sad to bid farewell to a programme which we are all hugely fond of. I’m sure some of these pieces will be getting many repeat G6 airings! Post Jingle Bells (which included some classy Santa hats from our tenor section), we retired to the crypt to indulge ourselves in a bottle of prosecco or five, before going our separate ways. It has been a most enjoyable first Christmas tour, and as I sit writing this blog on the way to my Sunday singing on a beautiful winter morning, I’m already looking forward to the next one!

 

15390700_10154794948960763_2924290222539833725_n

A photo from the curtain call of the final concert of our Christmas Tour on the 10th December in St. John’s Smith Square, featuring Joseph’s Santa Hat.