The disk has already received some lovely reviews (see below) and we will keep you updated on its reception.
The CD can be ordered from the Hyperion website
Beneath the Northern Star available for pre-order
The latest in our ongoing series of recordings for Hyperion, a survey of English choral music from the late C13th to early !5th, is now available for pre-order. Click here to be the first to receive it. You can also preview it by clicking on the picture and seeing a snippet on YouTube.
A very happy new year to all our followers. At the moment we are currently working on a new website, which explains the lack of recent news. The group has been busy and begins 2017 with a trip to Washington, D.C. to work with The Folger Consort. We have two performances in Washington Cathedral on 6th and 7th January.
Please come back to visit our new website, which should be completed at the end of January 2017. It will be at the same address.
Best wishes from us all.
Joan of Arc returns to Denmark (and Sweden)
We're finally getting the chance to perform Voices Appeared in the country of the film's director, Carl Theodor Dreyer. A performance in Aalborg on 27th September is followed by one in Malmö the following day. And if anyone reads Swedish, then you can find a preview of the project here.
Review of The Burning Heart in The Observer
It's always heartening to receive a good review, the more so if you stumble across it blearily on a Sunday morning. Here, in full, is Fiona Maddocks's review of our most recent disk in The Observer.
This is the Orlando Consort’s third recording of unaccompanied songs by Guillaume de Machaut (c1300-77). The idealised pains and pleasures of courtly love are captured with haunting intensity, variously melismatic, rhythmically playful and full of conundrums and puzzles, sensed but hardly understood by a modern listener. In the mysterious Cinc, un, trese, numbers are used to spell out a name, sung with cool precision by Matthew Vennercorrect (countertenor) and Angus Smith (tenor). Donald Greig (baritone) is a steadily burning lover, devoted to his hopeless cause, in the solo Tuit me penser. Mark Dobell (tenor) opens the disc with Hé, dame de vaillance, dying of love for want of a glance from his grey-eyed lady. All sing exquisitely.
Nomination for The Gramophone Awards 2016
Good news today in that the Loyset Compère recording, an excerpt of which you may very well be listening to right now, has been shortlisted for a prestigious Gramophone Award in the category of Early Music. Fingers crossed. It would a great fillip for composer who is all too often overlooked.
Reviews for new Machaut recording
Some wonderful reviews of the new release of the Machaut disk, this being number three in the series. Fabrice Fitch, writing in The Gramophone, describes it as ‘offers a masterclass in maximum variety gleaned from minimal means’ and as a ‘very impressive recital’. Anthony Pryer in the BBC Music Magazine talks of an ‘attractive, suave and measured’ approach’, and the Northern Echo praises it as ‘alluring listening’. Andrew Benson-Wilson advises the listener to ‘turn the lighting down and just let the music wash over and through you’. Several of the reviewers rightly acknowledge the musicological team behind the editions and the liner notes and, as ever, we are indebted to Yolanda Plumley, Barton Palmer, Uri Smilanksy, Anne Stone and Jacques Boogart.
Radio interview about Voices Appeared
Those of you interested in Voices Appeared might want to have a listen to a longer interview with Don, who designed the soundtrack. It has already aired on WZBC, WRFI, KZGM, and other Pacifica Radio Network affiliates in syndication in locations around the US on WZBC, WRFI, KZGM, and other Pacifica Radio Network affiliates in syndication in locations around the US. The interviewer, Toni Pennacchia, saw the performance we gave in Toronto and the interview itself took place on the telephone. http://spoileralertradio.libsyn.com/donaldgrieg
Pre-order the next in our Machaut series
Last week we were in the 'studio' again (actually a church in Loughton, Essex) recording more Machaut. Whilst there we were visited by Simon Perry, our renowned, respected and genuinely liked Boss (of Hyperion records). He brought with him the first pressings of our third Machaut release, A Burning Heart. As ever, it's beautifully produced in terms of sound and graphic design, with full texts and translations, and excellent notes. You can pre-order this at iTunes and we encourage you to do so. If you're never heard Machaut then this is an excellent (late) introduction. And if you're been following the Orlando Consort's previous recordings then you really won't want to miss it.
Voices Appeared: press and future plans
The 2015-16 season has seen the group very busy with several performances of the Voices Appeared project. As many of you will know, this is a live soundtrack compiled from music written and performed during the French patron Saint's lifetime, and accompanies screenings of Carl Theodor Dreyer's 1928 silent masterpiece, La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc. Described by The New Yorker as ‘a radical solution’, that is exactly what internationally acclaimed medieval vocal ensemble, The Orlando Consort, has done, drawing on its twenty-five years of experience of performing this specialist repertoire. Cleveland Classical said it was ‘a brilliant experiment’ and Musical Toronto as ‘a thought-provoking experiment that question[s] the relationship between sound and image.’
Centring around the trial, the film focuses on the human voice and its power to accuse and reassure. Conflicting discourses, alternately cajoling and condemnatory, stage an unheard aural polyphony that finds an echo in medieval motets, antiphons, plainsong and discant. The soundtrack continually ‘immerses the spectator in the fifteenth century...moving him/her by the intensity of images and music’ (El Mundo). Classical Source opined that ‘this now seems the benchmark score for Dreyer’s masterpiece,’ and The Guardian spoke of it as ‘an exceptional achievement that reminds us just how potent the combination of silent film and live music can be.’
If the projecct is of interest to you then please contact us to discover how you migth bring this exciting project to your neck of the woods.
April 2016 Voices Appeared North America Tour
Follow Angus Smith's blog on our April 2016 North America tour, which includes performances in Houston, Toronto, Cleveland, Winston-Salem, Blacksburg and Raleigh-Durham
February 2016 North America Tour
Follow Matt Venner as he blogs about our February 2016 North America tour
Voices Appeared for The Barbican
The final performance of the Arts Council of England Voices Appeared tour was last Friday for the Barbican at St Luke's Church in Old Street, Londond. It was sold out and marked the 26th performance since we premiered it almost a year ago. It's by no means the last performance - we're off to Spain next month and back to the USA in April - but it marks the end of a very important phase of the project. Many thanks to the Arts Council of England for their support, and to all our partners - the various promoters and the National Centre of Early Music - who showed such faith from the outset.
There's a lovely review of it by Tim Ashley in The Guardian: "this is an exceptional achievement that reminds us just how potent the combination of silent film and live music can be."
January 2016 tour blog
Be sure to read Mark's entertaining account of our January USA tour
Round-up of 2015
It's been a busy year from the group, notably with the new film project, Voices Appeared. We've nearly completed our Arts Council tour of England, the last engagement in January next year for The Barbican, and where ever we've gone we've been struck by the power of the film. People come away visibly shaken, and they're kind enough to say that they find the combination of music from the period with Dreyer's extraordinary film to be a very moving experience.
After the first experimental showing at King's, London, we made several small changes to the score, which have helped enormously. And what was a truly terrifying task, which even in the first rehearsals some of us thought might prove to be impossible, is now something that we take in our stride. Familiarity has also allowed us to push our emotional range, imbuing text and music with a force and vigour that we would normally find inappropriate to concert performance. And long may it continue, as indeed it will with many more performances planned for 2016, in the UK, Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Canada and the USA.
Even with that busy schedule, we found time to record two more CDs for Hyperion, the first being a further CD of music by Guillaume de Machaut and the second being of English music from the late C14th and C15th. Further notable concert performances included 'Dust and Ashes' for the Three Choirs Festival, a concert in Swidnica of early Renaissance repertoire, an exciting collaborative concert for Nottingham University, and a really enjoyable and stimulating residency at Wellesley College in October, including a lunchtime performance with the Chamber Singers.
A happy new year to all our followers and we very much hope to see you in 2016.