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Tom & Will – Weelkes & Byrd 400 Years
Various composers

The King's Singers | Fretwork

Tom & Will – Weelkes & Byrd 400 Years

Price: € 19.95
Format: CD
Label: Signum Classics
UPC: 0635212073124
Catnr: SIGCD 731
Release date: 13 January 2023
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Label
Signum Classics
UPC
0635212073124
Catalogue number
SIGCD 731
Release date
13 January 2023
Album
Artist(s)
Composer(s)
EN
NL

About the album

400 years ago, in 1623, England lost two of its greatest composers: William Byrd and Thomas Weelkes. In a pro- gramme marking this double anniversary, The King’s Singers and Fretwork turn their focus to the bold personalities of these two men, Will and Tom. Featuring well-known gems by the two composers, alongside works which had never been recorded before and which are rarely heard live, Tom and Will unlocks some of the humanity behind these two giants of Elizabethan music. Presented in The King’s Singers’ unique style, this programme is filled with beauty, drama and storytelling.

As part of this project, The King’s Singers and Fretwork have commissioned two new works for their joint forces, by two of Britain’s great living composers: Sir James MacMillan and Roderick Williams. These works only feature in the version performed by The King’s Singers and Fretwork, but represent a commitment to keeping the spirit of Byrd and Weelkes alive in today’s musical landscape.

400 jaar geleden, in 1623, verloor Engeland twee van zijn grootste componisten: Thomas Weelkes en William Byrd. Ter gelegenheid van dit dubbele jubileum hebben de Engelse a-capellagroep The King’s Singers en het ensemble van gambisten Fretwork, de krachten gebundeld en een album uitgebracht met muziek van deze markante persoonlijkheden, Tom en Will. Als onderdeel van dit project vroegen The King’s Singers en Fretwork de vermaarde nog levende Britse componisten, Sir James MacMillan en Roderick William, twee nieuwe werken te schrijven voor hun album ‘Tom & Will, Weelkes & Byrd: 400 Years’. En zo geschiedde.

Het leidde tot dit prachtige album met wereldse muziek van twee van Engelands grootste componisten, aangevuld met de twee nieuwe werken van MacMillan en Wiliams, die alleen in deze versie door The King’s Singers en Fretwork worden uitgevoerd. En dat alles om de geest van Weelkes en Byrd levend te houden in het muzikale landschap van vandaag.

Zowel Weelkes als Byrd waren buitenbeentjes met gekke kleurrijke verhalen. Beiden hadden veel gevoel voor humor, schreven vaak komische madrigalen, maar hadden ook een serieuze kant. Ze experimenteerden met de manier van uitvoeren, waren creatief en improviseerden. Kortom ze brachten de muziek tot leven.

Met bekende pareltjes van deze twee componisten, naast werken die niet eerder zijn opgenomen en die zelden live te horen zijn, krijgen we met het album Tom & Will voor een deel de menselijkheid achter deze twee reuzen van Elizabethaanse muziek te zien. Gepresenteerd in de unieke stijl van The King's Singers, is dit een album vol schoonheid, drama en verhalen. De verleidelijke verstrengeling van stemmen en gamba's in het hele programma is nog steeds even krachtig als vier eeuwen geleden.

The King’s Singers vertegenwoordigen op meesterlijke wijze het a capella zingen op 's werelds grootste podia. Ze staan bekend om hun ongeëvenaarde techniek, veelzijdigheid en vaardigheid in de uitvoering, en om hun volmaakte muzikaliteit, waarbij ze putten uit zowel het rijke erfgoed van de groep, als de pioniersgeest om een buitengewone rijkdom aan originele werken en unieke samenwerkingen te creëren.

Fretwork is een Brits ensemble van gambisten. De groep legt zich hoofdzakelijk toe op Engelse consort-muziek uit de 16de en 17de eeuw. Sporadisch voert Fretwork hedendaagse muziek uit, onder anderen van George Benjamin en Michael Nyman.

Artist(s)

The King's Singers (vocals)

THE KING’S SINGERS have set the gold standard in a cappella singing on the world’s greatest stages for over fifty years. They are renowned for their unrivalled technique, musicianship and versatility, which stem from both the group’s rich heritage and its drive to bring an extraordinary range of new and unique works, collaborations and recordings to life. The King’s Singers’ extensive discography has led to numerous awards, including two Grammy Awards, an Emmy Award, and a place in Gramophone magazine’s inaugural Hall of Fame. Over the course of 2023, the group has released three diverse, collaborative albums that showcase the breadth of their repertoire. One marks 400 years since the deaths of two great Renaissance composers, Thomas Weelkes and William Byrd. Another celebrates their body of commissioned music, including...
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THE KING’S SINGERS have set the gold standard in a cappella singing on the world’s greatest stages for over fifty years. They are renowned for their unrivalled technique, musicianship and versatility, which stem from both the group’s rich heritage and its drive to bring an extraordinary range of new and unique works, collaborations and recordings to life.
The King’s Singers’ extensive discography has led to numerous awards, including two Grammy Awards, an Emmy Award, and a place in Gramophone magazine’s inaugural Hall of Fame.
Over the course of 2023, the group has released three diverse, collaborative albums that showcase the breadth of their repertoire. One marks 400 years since the deaths of two great Renaissance composers, Thomas Weelkes and William Byrd. Another celebrates their body of commissioned music, including the six Nonsense Madrigals written for the group by György Ligeti (who would have turned 100 in 2023). And the third honours 100 years of Disney, with almost thirty brand-new arrangements of songs from its iconic films.
Growing the global canon of choral music has always been one of the group’s key aims, and The King’s Singers have now commissioned more than 200 works by many of the most prominent composers of the 20th and 21st centuries. These composers include John Tavener, Joe Hisaishi, Judith Bingham, Eric Whitacre, György Ligeti, Luciano Berio, Krzysztof Penderecki and Toru Takemitsu. All of this new music joins their unique body of close-harmony and a cappella arrangements, including those by individual King’s Singers past and present.
The King’s Singers were officially formed in 1968 when six recent choral scholars from King’s College, Cambridge gave a concert at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall. By chance, the group was made up of two countertenors, a tenor, two baritones and a bass, and the group has stuck to this singular formation ever since that debut.
Alongside their demanding performing and recording schedule – with over 100 concerts worldwide every season – the group also leads educational workshops and residential courses across the globe, working with both ensembles and individuals on their approaches to group singing. To mark their 50th anniversary in 2018, they founded The King’s Singers Global Foundation in the USA to provide a platform to support the creation of new music across multiple disciplines, to coach a new generation of performers, and to provide musical opportunities to people of all backgrounds.

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Fretwork

In 2021 Fretwork celebrated its 35th anniversary. In these last three and a half decades, they have explored the core repertory of great English consort music, from Taverner to Purcell, and made classic recordings against which others are judged. In addition to this, Fretwork have become known as pioneers of contemporary music for viols, having commissioned nearly 50 new works. The list of composers is like the role call of the most prominent writers of our time: George Benjamin, Michael Nyman, Sir John Tavener, Gavin Bryars, Elvis Costello, Alexander Goehr, John Woolrich, Orlando Gough, Fabrice Fitch, Peter Sculthorpe, Sally Beamish, Tan Dun, Barry Guy, Andrew Keeling, Thea Musgrave, Simon Bainbridge, Poul Ruders, John Joubert, Duncan Druce & Nico Muhly. In 2010 they...
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In 2021 Fretwork celebrated its 35th anniversary. In these last three and a half decades, they have explored the core repertory of great English consort music, from Taverner to Purcell, and made classic recordings against which others are judged.
In addition to this, Fretwork have become known as pioneers of contemporary music for viols, having commissioned nearly 50 new works. The list of composers is like the role call of the most prominent writers of our time: George Benjamin, Michael Nyman, Sir John Tavener, Gavin Bryars, Elvis Costello, Alexander Goehr, John Woolrich, Orlando Gough, Fabrice Fitch, Peter Sculthorpe, Sally Beamish, Tan Dun, Barry Guy, Andrew Keeling, Thea Musgrave, Simon Bainbridge, Poul Ruders, John Joubert, Duncan Druce & Nico Muhly.
In 2010 they also curated a week-long concert series of concerts at Kings Place which culminated in the world premier of The World Encompassed by Orlando Gough, a 70-minute piece describing in musical terms Drake’s circumnavigation of the globe in 1577-80.
In 2011, The National Centre for Early Music, in collaboration with the BBC, hosted a competition for young composers to create a four-minute piece for Fretwork. They workshopped the shortlisted pieces at the NCEM in York in October, and then the winning entries were premiered in Kings Place in December 2011. In 2014 they concentrated on the music of John Dowland with a major tour of the UK with one of today’s greatest tenors: Ian Bostridge. They also spent a week in the Britten Studio in Aldeburgh re-working The World Encompassed to incorporate a spoken narrative drawn from contemporary accounts.
Slow: an In Nomine by Nico Muhly was premiered in 2015 at Kings Place in London, and they collaborated with celebrated actor Simon Callow in the revised version of The World Encompassed and recorded it for Signum Classics.
They celebrated their 30th anniversary with a star-studded concert at Kings Place in June 2016. They also recorded four new albums, including The World Encompassed, and later that year they made their longest tour of America, taking in the USA, Canada and Colombia.
In 2018 they performed and recorded a programme celebrating the music of Michael Nyman – who turned 75 in 2019 – with the exceptional counter-tenor, Iestyn Davies. In 2019 they toured North America with this programme.
That year they also began a series of concerts at Wigmore Hall, called Musick’s Monument, presenting the greatest English consort music from the Golden Age – six concerts ranging from Taverner to Purcell. The 2020 pandemic curtailed most groups plans and activities, and Fretwork saw its fair share of cancellations; but it was fortunate to receive support from Arts Council England’s Emergency fund, and then to be able to present a live-streamed concert with Iestyn Davies from the National Centre for Early Music in York, a programme of Dowland’s Lachrimae from Wigmore Hall and premier a new work by Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones in the Early Music Festival in Blackheath. They also pressed ahead with more recording once lockdown restrictions were eased.
They performed at Wigmore Hall twice in 2021, including a performance on Good Friday, the first from Wigmore on that date for many decades, of Johann Sebastiani’s St Matthew Passion. They have also been awarded a substantial grant from Arts Council England to continue and maintain the continuity of their work.
They premiered their new project, Albion, in Kings Place in November 2021. It is a reflection on English identity as seen through the musics of various ages and ethnicities. They invited ten composers – Orlando Gough, Yfat Soul Zisso, Sally Beamish, Gabriel Prokofiev, Sarah Dacey, Talvin Singh, Blasio Kavuma and others – to arrange iconic pieces of English music. This included works such as Overload by the Sugababes, Land of Hope and Glory, London Calling by The Clash, Sailing By by Ronald Binge and When All Is Said and Done by Napalm Death. These are then linked and amplified with live electronics, creating an impressionistic tableau that explores and questions English identity. While they used to fly all over the globe, they have now committed to reducing their carbon footprint by travelling in Europe only by train or electric cars - this year they have toured Germany, France & Spain, Austria & Slovenia in their two Teslas.


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Composer(s)

James MacMillan

James MacMillan is one of today’s most successful composers and is also internationally active as a conductor. His musical language is flooded with influences from his Scottish heritage, Catholic faith, social conscience and close connection with Celtic folk music, blended with influences from Far Eastern, Scandinavian and Eastern European music. MacMillan first became internationally recognized after the extraordinary success of The Confession of Isobel Gowdie at the BBC Proms in 1990. His prolific output has since been performed and broadcast around the world. His major works include percussion concerto Veni, Veni, Emmanuel, which has received more than 400 performances, a cello concerto for Mstislav Rostropovich and three symphonies. Recent major works include his St John Passion co-commissioned by the London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,...
more

James MacMillan is one of today’s most successful composers and is also internationally active as a conductor. His musical language is flooded with influences from his Scottish heritage, Catholic faith, social conscience and close connection with Celtic folk music, blended with influences from Far Eastern, Scandinavian and Eastern European music.
MacMillan first became internationally recognized after the extraordinary success of The Confession of Isobel Gowdie at the BBC Proms in 1990.
His prolific output has since been performed and broadcast around the world. His major works include percussion concerto Veni, Veni, Emmanuel, which has received more than 400 performances, a cello concerto for Mstislav Rostropovich and three symphonies. Recent major works include his St John Passion co-commissioned by the London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Berlin Radio Choir, his Violin Concerto, Viola Concerto, St Luke Passion and, most recently, his Percussion Concerto No.2 for Colin Currie, co-commissioned by the Philharmonia Orchestra, Edinburgh International Festival, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra and Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music.
MacMillan enjoys a flourishing career as conductor of his own music alongside a range of contemporary and standard repertoire, praised for the composer’s insight he brings to each score. He was Principal Guest Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic until 2013 and was Composer/ Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic from 2000-2009; he has conducted orchestras such as the Baltimore Symphony, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, Vienna Radio Symphony, Danish Radio Symphony, Gothenburg Symphony, Luxembourg Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony, Bournemouth Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and NHK Symphony Orchestra among others. MacMillan was Composer in Residence at the 2012 Grafenegg Festival and a London Symphony Orchestra Portrait Artist in the 2009/10 season.
In spring 2014 MacMillan conducted three projects with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, culminating in a ground-breaking tour to India with Nicola Benedetti performing in Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi including public concerts, schools concerts and outreach work. In the 2014/15 season, MacMillan conducts orchestras including the Bergen Philharmonic, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the Britten Sinfonia. In January 2015 he conducts a new production of his opera, Inés de Castro, at Scottish Opera and elsewhere this season conducts choral concerts in Sao Paulo and with the BBC Singers. In October 2014 MacMillan founded his music festival, The Cumnock Tryst, which takes place in his native Ayrshire.


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Roderick Williams

Roderick Williams is one of the most sought-after baritones of his generation and enjoys relationships with all the major UK and European opera houses. He has sung world premieres of operas by, among others, David Sawer, Sally Beamish, Michael van der Aa, Robert Saxton and Alexander Knaifel as well as roles by Mozart, Britten and Strauss. He has performed concert repertoire with many of the leading orchestras and ensembles internationally including the Berlin and New York Philharmonic Orchestras, London Symphony Orchestra and all of the BBC Orchestras. In demand as a recitalist, he has performed at major venues worldwide and festival appearances have included BBC Proms (Last Night 2014), Edinburgh, Cheltenham, Aldeburgh and Melbourne. In 2016 he won the RPS...
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Roderick Williams is one of the most sought-after baritones of his generation and enjoys relationships with all the major UK and European opera houses. He has sung world premieres of operas by, among others, David Sawer, Sally Beamish, Michael van der Aa, Robert Saxton and Alexander Knaifel as well as roles by Mozart, Britten and Strauss. He has performed concert repertoire with many of the leading orchestras and ensembles internationally including the Berlin and New York Philharmonic Orchestras, London Symphony Orchestra and all of the BBC Orchestras. In demand as a recitalist, he has performed at major venues worldwide and festival appearances have included BBC Proms (Last Night 2014), Edinburgh, Cheltenham, Aldeburgh and Melbourne. In 2016 he won the RPS Singer award and the prize for best choral composition at the British Composer Awards. He was awarded the OBE for services to music in 2017 and was one of the featured soloists at the coronation of King Charles III in 2023.


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William Byrd

William Byrd was an English composer. He was one of the greatest composers of his generation. Hiis name is sometimes spelled as Bird, Byrde, or Byred. The exact dates of his birth and death are not known, and even his place of birth (Lincoln) is merely guesswork, based on the fact that several families named Byrd lived in Lincolnshire during the 17th century.  As a child, Byrd received music lessons from the renowned Thomas Tallis in the Chapel Royal in London. Byrd is part of the so-called virginalists. In 1563, he was appointed as organist of the cathedral in Lincoln, even though he must have only been around 20 years old and in 1572 he was appointed as organist of Chapel Royal...
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William Byrd was an English composer. He was one of the greatest composers of his generation. Hiis name is sometimes spelled as Bird, Byrde, or Byred. The exact dates of his birth and death are not known, and even his place of birth (Lincoln) is merely guesswork, based on the fact that several families named Byrd lived in Lincolnshire during the 17th century. As a child, Byrd received music lessons from the renowned Thomas Tallis in the Chapel Royal in London. Byrd is part of the so-called virginalists. In 1563, he was appointed as organist of the cathedral in Lincoln, even though he must have only been around 20 years old and in 1572 he was appointed as organist of Chapel Royal together with Tallis. In 1575, again with Tallis, he received the rights to publish and sell his music by Queen Elizabeth I. In honour of the Queen, the two composers dedicated their Cantiones Sacrae in the same year.
On multiple occasions, Byrd was prosecuted in court. As a catholic, he was repeatedly prosecuted for the rejection of Anglicanism. Nonetheless, he remained in favour of the Queen, probably because he composed music for both religious branches. Moreover, he wrote both secular and sacred music, and both vocal and instrumental pieces.


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Press

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