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Invitations to festivals and
competitions overseas give choirs
like The Tudor Consort an oppportunity to perform our specialist early
repertoire in ancient venues across Europe. This is important for a
choir like The Tudor Consort because performing Renaissance music in
these atmospheric European venues gives us an opportunity to connect
with the repertoire in a special way that is not always achievable in
the very nice but comparatively modern venues available in a young
country like New Zealand.
The Tudor Consort has toured overseas three times: first to Britain in
1988 under founding director Simon Ravens, and more recently in 2003 and
2005 to Europe. This recording captures some of the highlights of the
2005 performances in Spain and Italy. In Spain the choir attended the
37th International Choral Competition in Tolosa. This competition is one
of the oldest and most prestigious in Europe. It is one of six
competitions that feed into the European Grand Prix of Choral Singing.
The choir won two awards at this competition in 2003 and returned in
2005 to experience again both the competition and, more importantly, the
wonderful concert series that brackets the competition. For 10 days
around the competition, the choirs visiting Tolosa perform evening
recitals in a variety of ancient venues across the Basque Country. Our
concerts took us from San Sebastian in the Bay of Biscay to Borja in
Aragon. The first set of pieces on this recording are taken from the
choir’s performance in Ordizia, a small town near Tolosa, on Wednesday 2
November 2005. The Parroquial Church in Ordizia is a beautiful stone
church nestled in the heart of the town.
After completing the events at the Tolosa Competition, the choir
travelled to Austria and Italy to take advantage of some invitations
that had arisen since the first trip in 2003. The Tudor Consort sang
masses in Rome at Santa Maria Maggiore and St Peter’s Basilica – key
venues where Palestrina spent much of his working life – and performed
concerts in Salzburg and in Rome. The concert in Rome was at the
beautiful baroque church of Madonna dei Monti. Here, The Tudor Consort
appeared with the support of The Palestrina Foundation, an important
Italian early music performance society. The second set of pieces on
this recording are taken from this concert at Madonna dei Monti on
Tuesday 8 November.
The final track on this recording was captured in New Zealand in 2006.
In a very interesting project at the start of the year, the gentlemen of
The Tudor Consort worked together to rehearse and perform a Latin
Lamentations sequence entirely with men’s voices. (Normally, the The
Tudor Consort sings with mixed male and female voices, as you can hear
in all the other pieces on this disc.) The sonorities and textures that
result from the exclusive use of male voices create a subtly different
sound world that releases the latent expressiveness of Alfonso
Ferrabosco’s third Lamentation sequence in a powerfully dramatic way.
The gentlemen performed the Lamentations on Good Friday at Wellington
Cathedral; they reunited a fortnight later in the Hall of Memories at
the National War Memorial to sing the piece again, purely for
enjoyment’s sake. The recording on this disc was captured at that second
This recording was prepared for The Tudor Consort’s 20th anniversary.