St. Bart’s (325 Park Avenue, at East 51st Street – 212-378-0222) will host the U.K.’s world-renowned choral ensemble The Tallis Scholars for a one-night performance of sacred early music on Friday, March 30, at 7:30 p.m.
Directed by Peter Phillips, who founded the ensemble nearly 40 years ago, The Tallis Scholars have been called the “rock stars of Renaissance vocal music” by The New York Times and are the leading exponents of Renaissance vocal music throughout the world. Their current program, “The Field of the Cloth of Gold,” pays homage to two celebrated composers of the late-15th/early-16th century, Jean Mouton of France and William Cornysh of England, who in June 1520 led their countries’ respective Chapels Royal as they sang in fields near Calais as Henry VIII and Francis I met to seal a treaty of friendship between their warring countries.
The “Field” concert alternates between works by the two composers, and includes their respective versions of “Ave Maria” as well as Mouton’s “Nesciens mater,” “Quaeramus cum pastoribus,” “Kyrie,” “Agnus dei,” and “Salva nos,” and Cornysh’s “Ah Robin,” “Woefully Arrayed,” and “Magnificat.” A performance of John Browne’s “Salve Regina” rounds out the program.
In their 2011-2012 season, The Tallis Scholars are only making three visits to the United States. The St. Bartholomew’s concert is the only performance they will give in New York this spring.
“We are delighted to host The Tallis Scholars for this rare New York appearance,” said William Trafka, music director at St. Bart’s, noting that the sacred space last welcomed the ensemble in March 2010. Since then, he added, the church has undergone a transformation that promises to take the performance to new heights of musical enjoyment.
“This concert will take full advantage of the improved acoustics of St. Bart’s,” he said. “Last year, we replaced ours pews with chairs, and as a result, a more robust, vibrant sound fills the space. The effect will almost certainly accentuate the purity and clarity of sound that characterizes The Tallis Scholars’ performances.”
The two-hour concert has been underwritten by The Reed Foundation. Tickets are available for $25 and $40, with a $3 handling fee per ticket. Students and seniors receive a $10 discount. In addition, a $100 Angel Club ticket includes an invitation to the post-concert reception ($60 is tax deductible). Information is available at stbarts.org or by contacting St. Bart’s Central at firstname.lastname@example.org or (212) 378-0248.