The Queen of Heaven
Conducted by Harry Christophers
Harry Christophers and his world-renowned choir The Sixteen will present The Queen of Heaven at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) on Sunday 8 March 2015.
The Queen of Heaven program features an unmissable new version of Allegri’s famous Miserere alongside James MacMillan’s own setting of the text and glorious music by Palestrina.
After 35 years of performing and recording, The Sixteen is recognised as one of the world’s greatest ensembles. The Sixteen’s total commitment to the music it performs is its greatest distinction. A special reputation for performing early English polyphony, masterpieces of the Renaissance, bringing fresh insights into Baroque and early Classical music and a diversity of 20th and 21st-century music, is drawn from the passions of Founder and Conductor Harry Christophers CBE.
Harry Christophers says “I have decided to look at the music of three composers who, although separated by centuries, are unique in their devotion to the church. Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina is often billed as ‘The Prince of Music’ and by some ‘The Saviour of Church Music’; of course there are many great composers of the Renaissance, but Palestrina shines out for his immaculate craftsmanship and his sheer output. Today’s ‘Saviour of Church Music’ is undoubtedly James MacMillan, a composer with whom The Sixteen has had a long and empathetic association.
“His setting of the Miserere is quite an astounding work, one which I guarantee will have you on the edge of your seat. I could not resist the opportunity to contrast MacMillan’s powerfully emotional setting with that of Gregorio Allegri. Allegri’s Miserere is the single most famous piece of sacred music ever written. However, mythology surrounds it and, in this concert, we aim to portray its evolution.”
Over 100 recordings reflect The Sixteen’s quality in a range of work spanning the music of 500 years, winning many awards including the coveted Gramophone Award for Early Music and the prestigious Classical Brit Award for its Renaissance CD. In 2009 The Sixteen was given the accolade of the (UK) Classic FM Gramophone Artist of the Year as well as Best Baroque Vocal for its recording of Handel’s Coronation Anthems.
At home in the UK The Sixteen are ‘The Voices of Classic FM’ and Associate Artists of The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester. The group promotes The Choral Pilgrimage, an annual tour of the UK’s finest cathedrals which aims to bring music back to the buildings for which it was written. The Sixteen features in the highly successful BBC television series, Sacred Music, presented by actor Simon Russell Beale – the latest hour-long programme was aired in December 2011, marking the 400th anniversary of the death of the Spanish composer Tomás Luis de Victoria.
The name – The Sixteen – reflects the ensemble’s origin. The choir was formed in 1979 with 16 graduates from the Magdalen College in Oxford singing the music of 16th century composers. The Sixteen’s focus quickly broadened to music from the 16th century onward and today the choir is made up of 18 vocalists.
The Sixteen tours throughout Europe, Asia, Australia and the Americas and has given regular performances at major concert halls and festivals worldwide, including the Barbican (London), The Bridgewater Hall (Manchester), Cité de la musique (Paris) and Concertgebouw (Amsterdam). Festival appearances include the BBC Proms, Hong Kong, Wellington, Granada, Lucerne, Edinburgh, Istanbul, Prague, Bremen, La Chaise Dieu and Salzburg.
Don’t miss The Sixteen in one concert only on Sunday 8 March 2015. Tickets are now on sale. To book go to www.qpac.com.au or phone 136-246.