Wednesday, July 22, 2015



The Cardinall's Musick at the Cadogan Hall


The Cadogan Hall packed for an hour of Tudor Polyphony, with the bonus of a world première, inspired by Thomas Tallis and commissioned by the Cardinall's Musick.
This was Cheryl Frances-Hoad's From the Beginning of the World, an inspired setting of an unlikely text - Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe’s On the Great Comet of 1577. It turned out to be an excellent match – Tallis would have known about the comet, and the dramatic setting included quotations, both textual and musical, from the Tudor composer. The whole piece – a challenge technically, I imagine – was performed with expressive intensity by the choir of eight under the baton of Andrew Carwood. There's a twenty-first century resonance too, - global warming, “pseudo prophets”, war, natural disasters. After the lively Peccavi sequence, we heard the voice of reason at the end before the sudden conclusion, a raw Amen.
The Tallis motets, some of them never before heard at the Proms, ranged in scale from four to forty singers. Why Fum'th in Fight, given a wider audience in RVW's Fantasia, had eight voices, and the popular Spem in Alium, of course, forty. Ranged here in two front-facing rows, a much less dramatic configuration than some. But, together with the dry acoustic of the hall, it did give a chance to discern the individual lines in a performance of scrupulous attention to detail.

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