Preview: Four centuries of choral music from the Renaissance Choir, from William Byrd to Roderick Williams

You are invited to join the Renaissance Choir to enjoy a concert of choral music at the Church of the Holy Spirit, Fawcett Road, Southsea, PO4 0DY, on Saturday 8 July at 7:30pm.

We love singing a capella (unaccompanied) and we’ve selected music which particularly well shows off our abilities in this regard within the church’s gorgeous cathedral-like acoustic. Also, we chosen music that won’t necessarily be well known.

In this year of the 400th anniversary of William Byrd’s death, we will pay homage to him in the lively and ambitious motet Laudibus in Sanctis. This has many off-beat rhythms and nice word-painting. This will be balanced by his Mass for Five Voices.

We will be singing in the round as we perform Roderick Williams’ Ave Verum Corpus Reimagined for three choirs. Williams also pays homage to Byrd in his contemporary take on an English choral classic, Byrd’s Ave Verum Corpus, using the same words and “smearing out” Byrd’s phrases and employing radical harmony at several points includes clashing ambiguous chords.

The contemporary theme continues with John Cage’s FOUR2 where the singers hold static notes with one letter of the word ‘Oregon’; listening to each other, they decide when to start and finish each note. It’s a Zen-inspired work of inner peace.

Also included is Britten’s quirky Five Flower Songs, with their beautiful evocations of spring and summer and superb word painting.

The gentle music of Eric Whitacre sits alongside the highly romantic To be sung of a summer night on the water by Delius and two romantic part-songs in 8 parts by Pearsall which will show off the dynamic range of the choir.

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