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08 April 2022
Virtuoso saxophonist Christian Forshaw is joined by a consort of Tenebrae singers, in an ethereal sequence of penitential settings for Passiontide. Combining elements of ancient and modern to stunning effect, Forshaw and Tenebrae bring new colours and context to music by Gibbons, Tallis and Hildegard von Bingen in a series of new arrangements and compositions.
Described as “phenomenal” (The Times) and “devastatingly beautiful” (Gramophone Magazine), award-winning choir Tenebrae is one of the world’s leading vocal ensembles, renowned for its passion and precision. Award-winning conductor Nigel Short has earned widespread acclaim for his recording and live performance work with leading orchestras and ensembles across the world.
Described as “phenomenal” (The Times) and “devastatingly beautiful” (Gramophone Magazine), award-winning choir Tenebrae is one of the world’s leading vocal ensembles, renowned for its passion and precision.
For purity and precision of tone, and flawless intonation, Nigel Short’s chamber choir Tenebrae is pretty much unbeatable.
– The Times
Under the direction of Nigel Short, Tenebrae performs at major festivals and venues across the globe, including the BBC Proms, Wigmore Hall, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Rheingau Musik Festival and Sydney Festival. The choir has earned international acclaim for its interpretations of choral music ranging from the Renaissance through to contemporary masterpieces, and it regularly commissions new music. Previous commissions have included works by Judith Bingham, Joanna Marsh, Owain Park, Josephine Stephenson, Joby Talbot and Roderick Williams. Tenebrae has enjoyed collaborations with some of the UK’s leading orchestras, appearing alongside the London Symphony Orchestra, Aurora Orchestra, the Academy of Ancient Music and Britten Sinfonia. The choir also produces an annual Holy Week Festival in partnership with St John’s Smith Square, London.
Choral development is central to Tenebrae’s ethos, and through its Associate Artist Programme it provides crucial training and performance opportunities to young professional singers. Alongside its performance and recording schedule, the choir also runs a thriving Learning & Connection programme which encompasses partnerships with Music Centre London and London Youth Choirs, Tenebrae Effect workshops with amateur choirs, and its newest programme Singing Schools. Run in partnership with Ealing Music Service, Singing Schools aims to embed a long-lasting singing culture in local schools which might otherwise face barriers to music-making.
A concert by the British choir Tenebrae is more than a performance. It’s an experience that envelops the audience… this is one of the best choirs in the world.
– St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Tenebrae’s ever-increasing discography has brought about collaborations with Signum, Decca Classics, Deutsche Grammophon, EMI Classics, LSO Live and Warner Classics. In 2012 Tenebrae was the first-ever ensemble to be multi-nominated in the same category for the BBC Music Magazine Awards, securing the accolade of ‘Best Choral Performance’ for the choir’s recording of Victoria’s Requiem Mass, 1605. In 2016 Tenebrae received its second BBC Music Magazine Award for a recording of Brahms and Bruckner Motets, the profits from the sale of which benefit Macmillan Cancer Support. In 2018, the choir received its first Grammy nomination for its album of part songs from the British Isles, Music of the Spheres.
Signum’s current roster includes many excellent ensembles but the choral jewel in the crown is surely Tenebrae – Nigel Short’s outstanding chamber choir.
– Gramophone Magazine
‘Passion and Precision’ are Tenebrae’s core values. Through its continued dedication to performance of the highest quality, Tenebrae’s vision is to inspire audiences around the world through dramatic programming, flawless performances and unforgettable experiences.
Thomas Tallis was an English composer who occupies a primary place in anthologies of English choral music, and is considered one of England's greatest composers. He is honoured for his original voice in English musicianship. No contemporary portrait of Tallis survives: that painted by Gerard Vandergucht (illustration), dates from 150 years after Tallis died, and there is no reason to suppose that it is a likeness. In a rare existing copy of his black letter signature, the composer spelled his last name "Tallys." Tallis is known for his work with William Byrd. He started to teach the much younger Byrd at the Chapel Royal in London. Later, they were both appointed as organists of the Chapel.
Tomás Luis de Victoria was born as the seventh child to a family of eleven chilren, in Madrid. He received his first music lessons as a choirboy, and after his voice change at puberty he was sent to Rome to attend a different choir. There he undoubtedly got to know the renowned Palestrina, perhaps he was even Palestrina's student. He soon established a flourishing career as a musician and composer, until 1587 when he joined a monastery and composed music for them. The working conditions were so favourable that he was never tempted to accept a new offer for a better position.
As a composer, De Victoria exclusively focused on the Latin liturgy: he composed many missas, magnificats and motets. For now his gloomy music, such as his Requiem and his lamentations for the Holy Week, remains the most popular. Because of this, De Victoria is often unfairly portrayed as a somber romantic, but he didn't appear to be a worrier at all! And if you listen closely, you can hear the musical joy in his music
Antoine Brumel was a Franco-Flemish composer. He was the choir master of the cathedral of Chartres in 1483, canon at Laon in 1498 and choir master at the Notre Dame in Paris from the same year. In 1505 he left to work at the court of the court of Ferrara, where he probably died.
Hij composed missas, motets and French chansons in a late-medieval polyphonic style. His most popular work is probably his mass Et ecce terrae motus, in which he pulls out all of his isorhythmic strenghts while maintaining an extremely inventive, somewhat peculiar melody. which moreover demands a very high skill level from the singers.
According to witnesses, Brumel was known as a difficult person to deal with.