The Tallis Scholars
Sing William Byrd
Taverner, Missa Gloria Tibi Trinitas, Tallis Scholars
Not much of the concert featured the ten singers of the Tallis Scholars on their own: just a mammoth Taverner motet (Gaude plurimum -- for Marian feasts, possibly specifically for Assumption, judging by the quotation of the Assumpta est Maria antiphon at one point) and Byrd's somber Nunc dimittis, neither of which is technically proper to Christmas. In the latter piece, the arching phrase "Lumen ad revelationem gentium" cycled several times through the various voice parts, providing an ingenious example of the intelligent type of singing that makes the group so good, performance that benefits from the understanding of form and compositional technique. Gaude plurimum showed that the group's sopranos have nerves of steel, flying high as the treble part is often so distant from the lower parts. Most of the selections that combined voices with instruments -- viols, recorders, lute, organ or harpsichord -- were even more pleasing, especially two unusual Christmas anthems, Orlando Gibbons's See the word incarnate and Byrd's From Virgin's Womb. The latter -- which I have studied in score but never heard performed live -- alternates between a low treble solo and a four-voice, all-treble quire, or refrain, in rollicking triplets. Even better, although the Tallis Scholars have recorded music by these composers, this was the first time their performance of these pieces reached my ears.
Tom Huizenga, In the end, Tallis Scholars rock the Renaissance at Gaston Hall concert (Washington Post December 13)
Violinist Julie Andrijeski leads a Baroque instrument orchestra for the Folger Consort's New Year concert (January 7 and 8), which brings together several sets of instrumental pieces that depict the four seasons.