Australian Brandenburg Orchestra: English Music Masterpieces

Thomas Tallis, composer of English choral music, depicted in stained glass window at St Alfege church, Greenwich, London.
Thomas Tallis, composer of English choral music, depicted in stained glass window at St Alfege church, Greenwich, London.

ABO 10Music masterpieces from the ‘fairest isle’ representing Thomas Tallis’ England will feature on the first Australian Brandenburg Orchestra Concert of 2018 in both Sydney and Melbourne.

Thomas Tallis, composer of English choral music, depicted in stained glass window at St Alfege church, Greenwich, London.

Thomas Tallis, composer of English choral music, depicted in stained glass window at St Alfege Church, Greenwich, London.

The program roams from the Renaissance era to the early years of the twentieth century and features musical masterworks by Thomas Tallis (1505-1585) and his colleagues, as well as those they inspired in later times such as Henry Purcell (1659 – 1695) George Friderich Handel (1685 – 1759) and Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872 – 1958),

Paul DyerArtistic director Paul Dyer, AO will lead an expansive string orchestra, along with the Brandenburg Choir and countertenor Max Riebl, all of whom will be sure to deliver an emotive experience for us all.

Max RieblMax Riebl has received top prizes in the IFAC Australian Singing Competition, London Handel Competition, Herald Sun Aria, Chicago International Classical Singer Competition and the Royal Philharmonic Arias. He is a favourite of ABO regular audiences for performing in the Brandenburg Choir.

Now a much in demand soloist with an impressive repertoire, performing in Sydney’s City Recital Hall, the Melbourne Recital Centre and Hamer Hall, the Forum, the Vienna Musikverein and the Royal Albert Hall, Max studied baroque and early music at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis with Gerd Turk, a renowned German classical tenor.

Detail Thomas Tallis, composer of English choral music, depicted in stained glass window at St Alfege church, Greenwich, London

Detail Thomas Tallis, composer of English choral music, depicted in stained glass window at St Alfege Church, Greenwich, London

In a petition to Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603) made jointly with Byrd in 1577, Thomas Tallis refers to having “served your Majestie and your Royall ancestors these fortie years,”.

Tallis and his associate William Byrd (1539-40 – 1623) were granted letters patent by the great Queen herself, for printing music and producing music paper in England so they had much to be grateful to her for.

It is also thought perhaps he had some association with the court in the years before his appointment as a gentleman of the Chapel Royal, whose members were ‘appointed to serve the spiritual needs of the country’s reigning sovereign’.

St Mary, Huish Episcopi

Gorgeous stained glass… St Mary, Huish Episcopi

The Chapel Royal was and still is today a nurturing ground and establishment (not a building) for English church music.

During its early days many noted organists and composers were ‘gentlemen’ including the much-admired Thomas Tallis who served Henry VIII, Edward VI, Marty Tudor and Elizabeth 1 in that capacity.

This concert of music will be especially stirring stuff for those with English blood coursing in their veins like me.

Music from this period can become infused in the DNA and symbolic of so much more than entertainment.

It can certainly be the place where the head, heart and soul can come together.

Thomas Tallis’ contribution to the flowering of music in his age was important, often modest but always meaningful. He was one of the first to provide musical settings for the English liturgy.

Beautiful stained glass window with a angelHis keyboard music is both substantial and significant and his mastery of the art of counterpoint (the relationship between voices that are harmonically interdependent), considered sublime.

Today you will hear Tallis’s music in movies, or as an aspect of love themes.

Why fumeth in sight from Tunes for Archbishop Parker’s Psalter one of the chosen works, is a stirring, complex piece of music.

Why fum’th in sight:
the Gentils spite In fury raging stout
Why taketh in hond:
the people fond Vain things to bring about

Choir Chapel Royal

Choristers of the Chapel Royal

I sang in church choirs for much of my life, and his Agnus dei from Missa puer natus always took my breath away. His If ye love me is such a comforter, especially at those times when you need to quiet your soul.

I’m looking forward to the works by Henry Purcell, another favourite, one of the greatest of the Baroque period in music and basically, of all English composers.

Composer Henry Purcell (1659 - 1695)

Composer Henry Purcell (1659 – 1695)

Henry Purcell started his career in music as a chorister in the Chapel Royal and his works feature many times on my play list, including his ten musical movements for Abdelazer (The Moor’s Revenge). He composed these to accompany a performance of a revenge tragedy by the charming and generous English writer, poet and dramatist Aphra Behn (b1640?-1689), who is also the first Englishwoman known to have earned her living through writing.

The ABO will play two; the Overture and simply stunning, Rondeau, a world-wide favourite.

There is so much more on this program to enjoy; there’s a dazzling array of works to look forward to, including one by Matthew Locke (1621-23 – 1677). He wrote for masques of the period and his ‘Curtain Call’ for Shadwell’s version of The Tempest (1674) is renowned for using for the first time in English music, ‘directions such as “soft” and “louder by degrees” and tremolos for stringed instruments’.

Vaughan Williams

Detail Ralph Vaughan Williams statue, outside the Dorking Halls, Dorking, Surrey, England

Music has always been an important aspect of English court life with sumptuous entertainments for visiting dignitaries, an important accomplishment.

Ralph Vaughan William’s Fantasia on a theme by Thomas Tallis (1910) will be a wonderful finale to this concert too.

Elizabeth 1 reported to the Scottish ambassador Sir James Melville she played music alone to ‘shun melancholy ’ and would have loved being there for this very special concert.

Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle, 2018

Thomas Tallis’ England

Paul Dyer Artistic Director
Maximilian Riebl countertenor
Australian Brandenburg Orchestra
Brandenburg Choir

BUY TICKETS

City Recital Hall
Wednesday 21 February 7pm
Friday 23 February 7pm
Wednesday 28 February 7pm
Friday 2 March 7pm
Saturday 3 March 7pm
Matinee:
Saturday 3 March 2pm

Melbourne Recital Centre
Saturday 24 February 7pm
Sunday 25 February 5pm

MUSICAL Program

English Masterpieces by Byrd, Gibbons, Handel, Purcell, Tallis.
Featuring Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis.
Gibbons Prelude in G Major
Byrd Ave verum corpus
Gibbons Drop, drop slow tears (instrumental)
Gibbons The silver swan
Gibbons Drop, drop slow tears
Gibbons Great Lord of Lords
Gibbons Hosanna to the Son of David
Purcell Overture from Abdelazer
Purcell Rondeau from Abdelazer
Purcell Cold Song from King Arthur
Handel Concerto Grosso, Op. 6/7: I Largo & II Allegro
Handel Fammi combattere from Orlando
Locke Curtain Call
Tallis Why fumeth in sight from Tunes for Archbishop Parker’s Psalter
Tallis Agnus dei from Missa puer natus
Tallis If ye love me
Vaughan Williams Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis

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