First concerts of 2018

Bristol Holy Trinity Saturday 6 January at 7.30pm | Salisbury St Martin’s Sunday 7 January at 3pm

We are looking forward to ringing in the first weekend of the new year with performances in Bristol and Salisbury. On Saturday 6 January 2018, we return to Holy Trinity Church in Westbury-on-Trym to conclude their 1300th anniversary celebrations. We then travel to Salisbury to perform for the third time in St Martin’s Church. Both programmes are centred around music for Epiphany, and will feature renaissance and contemporary works intermingled with plainchant. Featured composers include Sir John Tavener, Herbert Howells, Arvo Pärt and Cheryl Frances-Hoad. Tickets are just £10, with a £5 reduced rate for students.

Programme to include
Tavener The Lamb
Cornelius Three Kings from Persian lands afar
Pärt Morning Star
Byrd Praise our Lord all ye Gentiles
Eccard When to the Temple Mary went


BRISTOL – 6 JANUARY 2018 at 7:30 PM


SALISBURY – 7 JANUARY 2018 at 3:00 PM

Owain interviewed by Planet Hugill

Owain was recently interviewed by Planet Hugill about upcoming concerts at the Temple Winter Festival, including his debut with the BBC Singers, as well as our performance on Thursday 14 December 2017. Here is an extract from the interview:

“Owain Park is a busy young man, as he combines working with his vocal group The Gesualdo Six with a burgeoning conducting career, work as a composer including writing a commission for Nigel Short and Tenebrae’s recent tour, not to mention singing. Owain will be wearing two of these hats during the Temple Winter Festival (11-15 December 2017) when he and The Gesualdo Six will be giving a lunchtime recital, and in another concert Owain will be conducting the BBC Singers.

“The Gesualdo Six’s concert at the Temple Christmas Festival combines early and modern music for Advent and Christmas from Byrd to Cheryl Frances-Hoad, along with some arrangements. Owain explained that the programme brings together pieces from the group’s 2016 Christmas tour, having undergone a process of streamlining, and the intention was to make a programme which was attractive to as wide and audience as possible, and he emphasises that the tickets are cheap too. They will be performing Jonathan Harvey’s Annunciation re-scored for six voices, and Owain sees the piece as having links with the early pieces in the programme. The group has done quite a few performances at St John’s Smith Square (where they were Young Artists in 2015-2016), and Owain comments that it is nice to be appearing elsewhere in London.”

Read the full article here.

#aChristmasMiracle videos from Ely Cathedral

We’re very pleased to announce the release of the first of three videos for advent that we recorded under the octagon in Ely Cathedral as part of their #aChristmasMiracle Campaign. This release is Praetorius’ simple and beautiful ‘Es ist ein Ros entsprungen’, setting the words of an anonymous German author from the 15th Century. Keep your eyes peeled on our facebook page for the next two videos!

A Spotless Rose is growing,
Sprung from a tender root,
Of ancient seers’ foreshowing,
Of Jesse promised fruit;
Its fairest bud unfolds to light
Amid the cold, cold winter,
And in the dark midnight.

Workshops in King’s Bruton

Article by Ashley Marshfield – Director of Choral Studies at King’s Bruton

On Friday 17th November, King’s were fortunate to welcome the Gesualdo Six and their leader Owain Park to give a series of masterclasses to the King’s School Choir, Chapel Choir and Chamber Choir.

The group put the choirs through their paces with real attention to detail and thoughts on making phrases sound as musical as possible. It was a fantastic experience and a real boost to have professional singers performing in amongst our own pupil voices. The whole day really lifted the sound of our choirs to an incredibly impressive level.

During the afternoon, The Gesualdo Six ran a workshop with prep school children from All Hallows and Millfield. The boys and girls had a superb time and experienced singing rounds, ‘mash-ups’ of popular music combined with some beat boxing! The afternoon finished with a short recital to demonstrate to an appreciative audience what they had achieved during the afternoon.

The day culminated with The Gesualdo Six giving an evening performance in the Memorial Hall. The concert was a well-attended event with first-class music ranging from Loquebantur by Thomas Tallis to a performance of an impressive work Sequence: ‘In Parenthesis’ composed by the group leader, Owain Park. Equally comfortable with more light-hearted works, the concert also included selections of Folksongs from the British Isles and Light Music. It was the culmination of what was an excellent day of choral music at King’s and a wonderful experience for all. The group thoroughly enjoyed their visit and are keen to come again!

The original article was titled: The Gesualdo Six Take King’s Choral Singing To An Even More Impressive Level


Photos shared with the kind permission of participating schools.

Summer Tour 2017 in Review

As autumn gathers around us we thought it would be a good time to think back to the summer and share some thoughts and thank-yous from our third Summer Tour.

We kicked off with a live appearance on BBC Radio 3’s In Tune. Our third visit to W1A got off to a glittering start when we realised they were filming for Strictly Come Dancing right in front of the famous façade! With Josh still air-bourne on the way back from Australia it was a real pleasure to welcome Gopal Kambo for his first performance with the group. Gopal is a choral scholar at St John’s College in Cambridge and so is very used to singing with Joseph and although we threw him in at the deep end by performing some difficult repertoire live on Radio 3, he did a fantastic job.

With Josh restored to England, the next day we travelled to Cambridge, with Owain picking up the now familiar 7-seater rented car on the way. It’s always special for the group to return to our spiritual home in Trinity College Chapel. We last performed in the chapel in May 2015 and it was wonderful to be able to perform in the space again, and see some familiar faces in the audience. We hosted a small gathering in The Mitre, one of the local pubs afterwards to catch up with some of the audience, many of whom have been following the group since its inception. The next morning, a mercifully relaxed start allowed us to enjoy a long brunch in team-favourite Hot Numbers Cafe.

Soon after, we arrived North Luffenham in Rutland for the second concert of the tour. The town is home to the beautiful St John the Baptist church. It was a happy return to the church for Owain, who had performed there earlier this year with the Cambridge Fundraising Choir. An immensely successful dinner with our home-stays in the local Fox Inn followed our concert, and again allowed us to thank in-person some of the local musicians and friends whose hard work helped us put on the concert.

Mike and Guy’s host emerged to be a great cricket fan, and head groundsman for the adjacent cricket pitch so a plan was quickly hatched play the next morning in bright sunlight. Alex Chance’s huge six into a neighbouring garden from one of Guy’s less-pitched deliveries would make the highlights, as would his catch to dismiss Owain from one of Guy’s better balls to leave the 1st’s three runs adrift of the 2nd’s total.

With the roof-rack packed and various baggage and headphones retrieved from the pub, we were ready to press on to Northampton for our third concert in All Saints’ Church. We were warmly received by the local vicar and Jem Lowther, in whose beautiful country house we were fortunate to stay following the concert. All Saints’ was a lovely setting for Owain’s ‘A Sequence in Parenthesis’, which sets a medley of tunes from a memoire about the great war and features Sam in the unusual role of narrator. Always a very emotional piece to be involved with, it struck a particular chord with the audience in Northampton.

The fourth day of our summer tour started with a quick tour around the grounds of Jem’s family home in more lovely sunlight. Guy was particularly excited to learn that scenes from the somewhat infamous ‘Biggles’ movie were shot in the mews in the 80s. With a long journey ahead we set off to Hampshire and another church for All Saints in Odiham. The local parish obviously value music highly and have gone to great lengths to make the church an effective concert hall. We were pleased to be able to explore using various different acoustics during our concert and in celebration, Joseph was let loose on the new organ in the church as an impromptu encore for those who had stayed behind to lend a hand with staging.

The penultimate concert in our 2017 Summer Tour was in Bristol, at the huge and resonant church of St. Mary, Redcliffe, where Owain spent his formative years as a chorister. None of us shall soon forget starting the concert from the back of the church with Ego Flos Campi by Clemens non Papa, and then processing to the front of the church through the plainchant of Tallis’s Loquebantur. Renaissance polyphony is one of our favourite genres of music to sing, either in concert, in services or simply in rehearsals, and Lobo’s sublime Versa Est in Luctum made a perfect triptych for us to remember lush acoustics for the concert in Bristol. This was also Joseph’s last concert of the tour with us as he had to start his duties at Truro Cathedral the next day.

Rejoined by the unflappable Gopal the next day and refreshed by some more yard-cricket near Owain’s house, we set off to complete our little pilgrimage to St. James in Dursley, where Guy was a chorister. Delicious stew (well remembered by Michael Craddock from our tour in 2015!) met us in the Cotswold market town, at Guy’s family house and he was especially pleased to see a packed church of musicians and supporters enjoying the last concert of our 2017 Summer Tour. Complimentary pilgrimages to the local Old Spot pub and Dil Raj restaurant complete, the familiar 7-seater could be seen whizzing seven very tired but elated young men back to London through the September rain.

We’d like to once again thank enormously everyone who worked so hard to help us make our third Summer Tour such a success. It’s hard to think back to how far the group has come since our first tour in 2015 and it’s been very much aided by the dedication of our supporters and the enthusiasm for music wherever we go. Here’s to the next one!

VIDEO: Allegri’s Miserere with Blackburn Choristers

As part of our Spring Tour in March of this year we were lucky enough to work with the choristers of Blackburn cathedral as part of our concert there. We’re now extremely proud to be able to bring you a recording of that delightful collaboration, in which we perform Allegri’s famous Miserere as the lower parts of the main SSATB choir with the distant SSAT quartet being performed by older choristers of the choir. It was such a pleasure to meet these young singers and especially to have the rare opportunity to perform one of our favourite works, with much larger forces than we are normally able to sing with!

Live in Regensburg on BBC Radio 3

We were very excited to hear that the concert we gave in Regensburg this June as part of the Tage Alter Musik Festival, which was recorded live for German Radio was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on Early Music Lates with Simon Heighes. We’re really pleased that we can now share this wonderful programme with our followers in the British Isles. The programme features a journey through the Masters of English Renaissance Polyphony from Dunstable and Cornysh to Tallis and Tomkins, which was the central focus of of our recording sessions this summer, so it offers a sneak peak into our upcoming CD release. It’s available to listen again for the next month by following this link:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b093nqdn

BBC Radio 3 In Tune – August 2017

We had an awful lot of fun yesterday performing three pieces live on BBC Radio 3’s wonderful In Tune and speaking with Sean Rafferty about this year’s Summer Tour. We performed music from the whole range of our repertoire, including Thomas Tallis’ Loquebantur Variis Linguis, which will be appearing on our first disc sometime in the coming months. We also performed Ligeti’s wonderful Lobster Quadrille from his 6 Nonsense Madrigals and an arrangement of the Irish Folk-tune ‘Molly Malone’ by our very own Owain Park. You can listen again to our appearance for the next month on the BBC Radio iPlayer by clicking here.

Our tour kicks off today, Tuesday 29th August in Cambridge in the Chapel of Trinity College, Cambridge at 7:30pm.

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/