Timothy Murphy

Bass Baritone

The Shrines of Waltham

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  • Price: £15
  • Date: Sat, Oct 19, 2013
  • Time: 19:00 - 21:00
  • Venue: Essex
  • Location: Waltham Abbey Church, Highbridge Street
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The Renaissance Singers (dir. David Allinson)

Including the World Premier of ‘The Shrines of Waltham’ to be recorded by BBC Radio 3 for broadcast in 2014

“And, ‘mid Choirs unroofed by selfish rage The warbling wren shall find a leafy cage –Wordsworth

During the middle decades of the 16th century, England was shaken by the violence of a cultural revolution, as the country’s official religion became a source of brutal political conflict. The consequences for our national music were grave: dozens of professional choirs were disbanded and manuscripts destroyed. Distinctively ‘English’ styles and sounds, which had evolved in churches over previous centuries, were disrupted, as the money, pilgrims and prayers stopped flowing.

With this major concert the Renaissance Singers commemorates what was lost: the silences around the notes. Singing in the noble torso of Waltham Abbey (the last monastery to fall in the dissolution, when Tallis was working there) our programme shines a light on the torn and tattered tradition of early Tudor music. As well as complete motets by Tallis and others, we perform music which survives incomplete by major composers including Davy and White.

We are proud to present the first performance of The Shrines of Waltham by Stef Conner, with whom we have collaborated as part of the 2012-13 Making Music/Sound and Music ‘Adopt a Composer’ scheme. Using a mixture of medieval prayer texts, musical fragments and an entirely new setting of Wordsworth’s sonnet, The dissolution of the monasteries, this ambitious new piece has been conceived for us to sing in this very church.