Soprano high notes = goosebumps. But mixed with alto, tenor, and bass, i.e. The Tallis Scholars – bliss.

I agree with the New York Times. The Tallis Scholars are the “The rock stars of Renaissance vocal music”. Not that I know of other Renaissance music ensembles that I can compare them to, but that they have a memorable distinctive style. I hear them on the radio, and know that it is them. Sometimes I can even hum along a bit. Well, not really 🙂

The one and only concert in Perth was part of what is called this year The UWA Perth International Arts Festival. The concert was sold out. Fortunately, we got our tickets when we attended the brochure launch at the Perth Concert Hall November 2006. Getting first dibs at the tickets is one of the perks of being a Friend of the Festival.

Tonights performance was magical. From the programme (PDF), I liked Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina’s Stabat Mater, and Orlando di Lasso’s Media vita and Omnes de Saba venient the best. I have heard Gregorio allegri’s Miserere before, but in the programme notes, about the Miserere, Paul Hopwood writes:

Although he was a significant composer in his own right, Gregorio Allegri [1582-1652] is now known principally for his eponymous Miserere. Ironically, the work’s defining feature – the expressive and ornate polyphony soaring to extreme registers at the end of each verse – was probably originally improvised by choristers, and may not have been written by Allegri at all. Such is the work’s beauty that the performing parts were jealously guarded by the Vatican until 1840. Famously, the 14-year-old Mozart transcribed the Miserere from memory after hearing it, at most, twice while in Rome in 1770.

H informs me that Mozart’s transcription may not have been accurate. I was thinking more along the lines that for a 14-year-old to be so enthralled about a piece of music to want to remember it and have the where-with-all to do it, is pretty amazing.

Like all my choices, my taste in music is eclectic. But The Tallis Scholars are definitely a hit with me.

The only thing that spoiled the evening was the late comers. They kept coming. After the first, second, and third pieces … Concert tickets should be like plane tickets. If you are not on time, you have missed the flight.


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