Gesualdo Six and the English Renaissance

posted in: News

The program offered by Gesualdo Six when they perform at the Matsqui Centennial Auditorium on Thursday, February 9, at 7:30 p.m. is a wonderful portrayal of music from the English Renaissance. You will hear not only the common elements in music of the period but also some of the diversity.

Many of the composers on the program knew each other personally. Thomas Tallis was the teacher of William Byrd. He in turn taught Thomas Morley, Orlando Gibbons, and Thomas Tomkins.

Thomas Morley was noted for bringing Italian influences that sparked the brief but spectacular flowering of English madrigals. Orlando Gibbons and Thomas Tomkins were among the last of the noted composers of madrigals.

Tallis and Byrd stand at the forefront of this remarkable group of composers, both for their fame as composers and for the wealth of music we have received from them. By contrast, there is the obscure Sheryngham who is known for only two works and is known by only one name.

Tallis and Byrd are highly regarded for the intricate weaving of musical lines, but Tallis also wrote If ye love me which reflects the simplicity and brevity that was required during the reign of the austere Edward VI.

Robert White shares a parallel with J. S. Bach. Both composers were enormously respected during their lifetimes but quickly fell into obscurity after their deaths until their music was later revived, by Mendelssohn in the case of Bach and by the noted historian Charles Burney in the case of White.

Orlando Gibbons also enjoyed the plaudits of a later champion, Glenn Gould, who declared him to be his favourite composer.

Gesualdo Six is perfectly placed to bring this rich musical heritage to life on Thursday. Director Owain Park is a noted organist, as were many of these musicians. Countertenor Guy James adds a tonality that evokes the music of that age. All the members of the ensemble are brilliant vocalists and highly educated musicians.

Tickets to this remarkable experience are available online at at $32 for adults and $20 for students. There will be a pre-concert talk in the foyer at 6:50 p.m. Doors open to the public at 6:30 p.m.

For more information call 604-289-3377.

I look forward to seeing you at the concert.

John Wiebe - President
The Valley Concert Society