Happy Birthday Guy!

Our illustrious countertenor Guy turns 30 today. To mark the occasion, we have collected some of our favourite memories to share with you.

Guy James: the Early Years

Just starting out…

Favourite moments

A few more from the archives

Robert Fayrfax at 500

2021 marks the 500th anniversary of the death of Robert Fayrfax, who was considered one of the most prominent and influential Tudor composers during the reigns of Kings Henry VII and Henry VIII of England.

We are planning to celebrate the anniversary with a special programme of Tudor music, centred around the music of Fayrfax. Details of events will be published shortly.

This year also marks the 500th anniversary of the death of Josquin des Prez. Find out more about our project, Josquin’s Legacy.

About the composer

Robert Fayrfax became a member of the Chapel Royal in 1497 and was organist at St Albans Abbey. In 1520, Henry VIII and François I met at the Field of the Cloth of Gold celebrations; Fayrfax led the Chapel Royal and may have contributed music for the occasion. Jean Mouton produced music for the French party.

Fayrfax was buried in the abbey church of St Albans, but the grave can no longer be found. A seventeenth-century brass plaque, long vanished from his grave-slab, shows him standing with his wife above the inscription: ‘Pray for the soules of Master Robert ffayerfax doctor of music and Agnes his wife the w[hi]ch Robert decessed the xxiiii day of October the yeare Mo. vc. xxi on whose soules Jh[es]u have mercy amen.’

Resources

Robert Fayrfax scores on CPDL – as part of an ongoing research project, Humphrey Thompson has made his new editions of Robert Fayrfax available on the Choral Public Donation Library, supported by the Mercer’s Company. 

Other Fayrfax 500 events

Ensemble Pro Victoria will celebrate the composer’s output with a series of concerts, videos, podcasts and a recording of selected sacred and secular works, including the first recording of music from Henry VIII’s nuptial mass, Sponsus amat sponsam and all of Fayrfax’s extant courtly songs on Delphian Records (released October 2021).

Find out more

If you would like to know more about our plans to mark Fayrfax’s 500th anniversary, please Contact Us.

York Residency at NCEM

We are delighted to be leading the Early Music Day 2021 celebrations for the National Centre for Early Music on March 21 by embarking on an online musical tour of York. Owain writes:

“After a challenging year, it has been a delight to put our minds to this incredibly exciting project. We have long admired the work of the NCEM in York and so it has been an immense privilege to curate a musical journey that weaves through the city’s historic venues. Chiming with the NCEM’s spring celebrations, we aim to highlight the extraordinary power of collaboration and unity in a world where the seeds of division are increasingly sown.”

Early Music Day concert

We will debut our new programme, Josquin’s Legacy for Early Music Day on 21 March 2021, streamed live from the NCEM’s beautiful home of St Margaret’s Church.

Courts in renaissance Italy were meeting places for some of the greatest musicians from across Europe. The Court at Ferrara became a leading centre: many of the Franco-Flemish school passed through its gates and perhaps the most notable of these is Josquin. This programme contextualises some of the ‘jewels in the crown’ of Italian Renaissance repertoire by tracing themes of pedagogy and patronage in northern Italy over 150 years, featuring works by Ockeghem, Compère, Josquin, Mouton and Willaert.

Find out more

Awaken Festival

We will also be performing as part of the NCEM’s online Awaken festival on Saturday 27 March 2021 at 1pm.

Beyond these shores: A York Tapestry

Exploring stories contained in stained glass and manuscripts, reading tales of travelling merchants and musicians, and inspired by beautiful architecture and heritage, The Gesualdo Six present a musical tapestry inspired by the great city of York, celebrating cross-currents in an era of collaboration and discovery. The programmes contextualise some of the ‘jewels in the crown’ of renaissance repertoire by tracing themes of pedagogy and patronage around Europe, featuring works by Binchois, Ockeghem, Josquin, Dunstaple and Byrd.

Filmed in York Minster, Holy Trinity Church, Goodramgate; St Olave’s Church, Marygate and the York Merchant Adventurers Hall, Fossgate.

Purchase tickets


Read article by Charles Hutchinson

Read REMA article

My heart is like a singing bird

We have wanted to make a video of My heart is like a singing bird by Sarah Rimkus since our first performance back in 2016. We asked artist Mair Elen Park to respond to the score and she created a series of hearts which interpret the music.

The Hearts: a little explanation

In My heart is like a singing bird, Sarah Rimkus creates the outline of a heart through musical notation. This inspired me to use the hearts as vessels that contain the colourful patterns, shapes and textures that emerged from the music as I worked intuitively with a range of materials. Small pencil, ink and charcoal sketches were my initial responses to the music, which I used as rough plans to then play freely with Acrylic paint, iridescent mediums, oil pastels, chalk and collage in the final workings of the hearts. Although Rosetti’s poem is laden with beautiful imagery, I didn’t want to simply illustrate the text, but instead respond to G6’s haunting performance with the hope to compliment the listening experience.

– Mair Elen Park, 2021

Choir of the Year award

We are delighted to have been awarded Choir of the Year at the Classical Music Digital Awards. Thank you to all those who nominated us – we are so grateful for your support.

It was wonderful to see so many fantastic projects recognised. Congratulations to all those who won awards or were highly commended for their innovation and perseverance during 2020.

The Classical Music Digital Awards 2020 by David Taylor are a celebration of those musicians, ensembles, orchestras, and projects who have embraced digital during 2020 and kept the music playing.

Hats off to David Taylor and the team for putting them together.

Find out more about the awards

A look back at 2020

2020 was a strange year. Our aim was to find opportunities amid the uncertainty, improving our singing and working with other artists to revel in a newfound spirit of collaboration.

We have all chosen our standout moments from this year, starting in the Australian summer…

Josh: Australia Tour

My favourite moment of this year was our tour to Australia back in February. Each of the cities we performed in were amazing places and the reception we had from people was incredible. Particular highlights included: Teaming up with two other local choirs to sing Spem in Alium, performing in UKARIA’s amazing concert hall, and, a personal favourite of mine, getting over jet-lag by relaxing by the rooftop pool in our first hotel. We now know that we were incredibly lucky to visit before lockdown – hopefully our plans to tour there again can be realised soon!

Read more about our visit to Australia

Team photo in Perth

Isolation Creation

Our creative online output during lockdown fell under the Isolation Creation umbrella. Here are some of our highlights from this series.

We collaborated on two lockdown projects with the choristers of Truro Cathedral

Owain: our third disc, Fading

It seems like another world when we launched our third album back in March. That was the final concert we gave before everything was turned upside down. The tour we had planned around the UK to celebrate the disc had to be cancelled, and we were disappointed not to be able to share this programme with audiences.

Imagine our delight when, in November, we learned that Fading was awarded Vocal Recording of the Year by Limelight! We enjoyed singing some of the pieces as part of Live from London in August and look forward to performing this programme in the future.

Read more about the Limelight awards

Guy: the return to work

My favourite moment of 2020 was the day we were all able to meet again after the first lockdown. In June we met in a park near King’s Cross ahead of our first rehearsal in months and it was such a pleasure to see everyone again and experience that first sliver of normality. Singing together that day made me feel like we were going to be able to work safely again in 2020 and everything we’ve managed to achieve since then has stemmed from that moment.

Our first rehearsal back, at Peregrine’s Pianos in London

Andrew: JAM on the Marsh

A major highlight of this year for me was performing at JAM on the Marsh. We gave two online concerts in St Leonard’s Church, Hythe. As well as the thoroughly enjoyable music-making that week, it was great to have the boys in my home county of Kent. The weather was fantastic, and much cricket, beach time, and merriment was shared.

Find out more about JAM on the Marsh

Preparing for our Passion and Polyphony concert

Joseph: Choral Evensong on BBC Radio 3

This was a new one for us as a group, though strangely familiar: many of us grew up immersed in the tradition of which Choral Evensong is an integral part. We commissioned a new psalm chant from Kerensa Briggs for the broadcast, also giving the world premiere of Owain Park’s Night Prayer alongside music by Byrd, Tavener and Piers Kennedy. It was a distinct honour and privilege to be among the first people to sing a live broadcast of the service for the BBC after the first national lockdown; a series which helped pave the way for the rightful return of our church and cathedral choirs to the airwaves.

Live in five! A photo taken just before we take to the air on BBC Radio 3.

Mike: London Sound Gallery

Our first go at running a festival, London Sound Gallery really stood out for me: two frenetic days in the summer experiencing some amazing live concerts, and then the joy of sharing them with an audience at home. I was watching highlights from The Hermes Experiment this morning and I had such a pang of nostalgia for what was a really amazing series.

Find out more about London Sound Gallery

We join Helen Charlston and Toby Carr for a performance of Monteverdi’s Lamento della ninfa

In the spirit of collaboration…

…where to be-gin? We teamed up with trumpeter Matilda Lloyd to perform James Macmillan’s In Splendoribus Sanctorum, a fantastically atmospheric work, as part of our Isolation Creation series. Not only was it delightful to work with Matilda virtually, but in October we were able to perform two concerts in London, featuring the world premiere of Richard Barnard’s Aura, which we co-commissioned this year.

During the first UK lockdown, we found ourselves glued to our screens as Héloïse Werner captured our imaginations with her coronasolfège videos. We thought it would be fun to try it out for ourselves – amazingly, Héloïse thought so too and so we commissioned coronasolfège for 6, which we are delighted to present as a video.

Sam: a return to live concerts

Our concerts at Snape Maltings remains a great moment for me. I remember the weather being torrential that day, but the sense of excitement was so high as concerts were now a bit of rarity. Singing in that incredible venue (for the first time in my case) in those times was really special.

Taken during our concert at Snape Maltings

Thank you for sharing these memories with us. Let us know your favourite moment of 2020 on social media!

Isolation Creation

During the pandemic, we have tried to find opportunities amid the uncertainty, with our creative online output in lockdown falling under the Isolation Creation umbrella. Here are some of our highlights from this series.

Valentine’s Day

We have wanted to make a video of My heart is like a singing bird by Sarah Rimkus since our first performance back in 2016. We asked artist Mair Elen Park to respond to the score and she created a series of hearts which interpret the music.

Find out more about the artwork

Truro Cathedral Choristers

Despite not being able to visit Cornwall to work with the choristers of Truro Cathedral as planned, we collaborated on two lockdown video projects, both of which were premiered on BBC Radio 3 Breakfast by Petroc Trelawny.

Our thanks to Josh who put the audio together and Owain who edited the huge video file that resulted from our first-ever double choir performance: Sir John Tavener’s Hymn to the Mother of God.

Our second video was Hosanna to the Song of David by Orlando Gibbons, kindly supported by Angel Early Music.

Night Prayer

Our first video created in isolation was a new work by our director, Owain Park, written specifically for groups unable to meet together to sing. Night Prayer sets the latin hymn ‘Te lucis ante terminum’, a text that has often opened our live concerts.

Collaboration with Matilda Lloyd

One of the highlights of 2019 was our Radiant Dawn collaboration with our friend, the fantastic trumpeter Matilda Lloyd. We came together to perform James Macmillan’s In Splendoribus Sanctorum, a fantastically atmospheric work, as part of our Isolation Creation series.

Not only was it delightful to work with Matilda virtually, but in October we were able to perform two concerts in London, featuring the world premiere of Richard Barnard’s Aura, co-commissioned by the artists in 2020.

Coronasolfege

During the first UK lockdown, we found ourselves glued to our screens as Héloïse Werner captured our imaginations with her coronasolfège videos. We thought it would be fun to try it out for ourselves – amazingly, Héloïse thought so too and so we commissioned coronasolfège for 6, which we are delighted to present as a video.

Sing with G6

For our first #singwithG6, we chose one of our favourite pieces, a sacred motet by Josef Rheinberger which the composer first penned in 1855 at the age of 15. It is perhaps his most famous choral work, which looks backward to the great sacred music of the Renaissance.

Read more about our first #singwithG6 project

Happy Birthday Sam!

Today marks a significant day in the life of our bass, Sam Mitchell, as he turns 30! To celebrate this glorious achievement, we share a few of our favourite memories (and some sent in by his parents).

Early Years: When I grow up, I’m going to be a Pirate

A few singing lessons later…

It is remarkable what difference a few years (and some vocal tuition) makes! Here is Sam singing ‘How beautiful are the feet’ from Messiah by G. F. Handel while a chorister at Lincoln Cathedral in the early 2000s.

2015 – Sam signs on

“I’m incredibly excited to be joining G6. Since they started making a name for themselves last year I’ve always been struck by the incredible amount of character, flair and dynamism in their performances. I can’t wait until the first rehearsal!”

Sam‘s first day at work

Read our post on Sam’s appointment

Favourite moments

coronasolfège for 6

Earlier this year, we found ourselves glued to our screens as Héloïse Werner captured our imaginations with her coronasolfège videos. We thought it would be fun to try it out for ourselves – amazingly, Héloïse thought so too and so we commissioned coronasolfège for 6, which we are now delighted to present as a video.

Composer’s Note

Coronasolfege was born at the start of lockdown in March 2020. Just like every other musician in the world, all my performances suddenly got cancelled and I was stuck at home with nothing to do. I needed to find something to keep myself occupied. I started experimenting with creating rhythms and short melodies only using my face (eyes, teeth, voice) and my hands (on my cheeks). I came up with a simple 30-second composition where my eyes, teeth, voice and hands each go in different but repeated rhythms: eyes in crotchets, teeth in quavers, voice in triplets and hands in semiquavers. I filmed it, posted it on Twitter and Coronasolfege was born.

Creating these Coronasolfege videos gave me a sense of purpose – each one was like a mini challenge. My main goal with them was to cheer people up so each video is upbeat and sometimes funny. Alongside the rhythmic games and melodic earworms, I also enjoyed creating comical characters using world-plays and props.

This project has been a lovely way to be socially engaged with people from all over the world during the difficult periods of isolation. I wrote this new piece for this wonderful ensemble – I hope you enjoy the result…

Behind the scenes during coronasolfège for 6 filming
Listen to our first podcast episode, which features an interview with Héloïse Werner

Find out more about Héloïse Werner

12 Days of Christmas

We are delighted to be partnering with Ryedale Festival, Echo Vocal Ensemble and The Swan Consort to produce the ‘12 Days of Christmas’.

Give the gift of a Choral Christmas to your loved ones this year from three of the UK’s brightest choral ensembles.

Filmed in the splendour of Castle Howard in North Yorkshire, 12 Days of Christmas delivers a seasonal musical offering to the recipient’s email inbox every day from 25th December to 6th January.

With options for bespoke gift packages or eco-friendly digital delivery, 12 Days of Christmas is the perfect present for your music-loving friends and family wherever they may be during the festive season.

Presented in association with Ryedale Festival and with grateful thanks to Tidze.