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Armonico Consort Soloists


15th January 2011




Armonico Consort is a highly talented vocal ensemble staging a wide range of programmes in atmospheric settings. From massive 16th century polyphony including Spem in Alium (found in the programme Supersize Polyphony) to the sonorous romantic music such as Rachmaninov's Vespers, and from the Bach Passions to Venetian Vespers with the English Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble, Armonico Consort brings each work to life, providing the audience with a fresh musical experience.
These performances are often accompanied by their own orchestra, which features some of the finest period instrumentalists in the world. The choir also regularly works with other orchestras, including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonia and the European Union Chamber Orchestra. Armonico Consort performs regularly at pretty much every major festival in the UK, and at venues across the world including forthcoming engagements in France, China and the USA, and regularly perform with some of the world's greatest artists, including Nicola Benedetti, Natalie Clein, James Bowman, Sir Willard White, Dame Evelyn Glennie, Crispian Steele-Perkins and Dame Emma Kirkby. Their CD of Naked Byrd has received excellent reviews.

This performance by Armonico Consort Soloists features solo vocalists from the main ensemble

Armonico Consort Soloists
Conductor & Artistic Director  -   Christopher Monks

Soprano  -    Anna Sandström, Rachael Cox, Kirsteen Rogers
Alto –            Henry Capper-Allen
Tenor  -         Tim Down, Matthew Spillett 
Bass  -           Gabriel Gottlieb

Christopher Monks
Christopher Monks was organ scholar at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, and studied conducting with David Hill whilst an organ scholar at Winchester Cathedral.
As founder and Artistic Director of Armonico Consort, he is a dynamic and innovative conductor and keyboard player. Equally at home with early, classical and modern music, he is the driving force behind the Armonico Consort’s success. He has developed the group from its initial inception as a choir and orchestra (specialising in moving interpretations of Renaissance, Baroque and modern music), to its latest manifestation as an opera company giving ground-breaking performances with professional singers, dancers, actors and musicians.

As a keyboard player with the CBSO, Christopher has worked with numerous well-known conductors. He has given world premieres with musicians such as Evelyn Glennie, and regularly performs with some of the country's finest artists. He has conducted a range of high-profile orchestras, including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonia, the European Union Chamber Orchestra and the Armonico Consort's own Orchestra of the Baroque. Among his many CDs, his recording of Purcell’s The Fairy Queen was recently awarded four stars by The Times.

Future concerts will take place in the Bridgewater Hall, the Birmingham Town Hall, the Cadogan Hall, the Three Choirs Festival and venues across the world including Israel, Barbados, USA, Italy and Ireland.

The Programme

Naked Byrd

In an evening of music from composers who wore their hearts on their sleeves, and whose art saw their emotions laid bare, Armonico Consort presents an atmospheric concert full of magical musical moments. For hundreds of years composers worked for authorities in Courts, or churches. Their jobs were to create new music every week either as entertainment for the nobility or as a new mass and motet settings.  Within the church, sometimes musicians were very restricted with how they could write; indeed the Council of Trent in the middle of the 16th Century declared that music should not be too florid, and should never take precedence over the words.

For many composers rules such as those set by the Council of Trent became a noose around their necks. But for others, these constraints only served to energise their genius with even more passion. It was these composers who found a way of allowing their music to speak their true emotions that made their art great. Some of the music you will hear tonight is well known and some you may not have heard before. We aim to weave together centuries of genius in an evening of haunting and dramatic beauty.

Salve Regina (G minor)              (attributed to Hermann Contractus)

Ave Verum                                                                                      Byrd

Miserere Mei                                                                                Allegri

Never Seek to Tell Thy Love (G minor)                                  Roberts

Ave Generosa                                                       Hildegard of Bingen 

Libera Nos, Salve Nos (B flatmajor)                                     Shepherd

Agnus Dei (4 Part Mass in F minor)                                             Byrd

O Virtus Sapientiae                                              Hildegard of Bingen

Hear My Prayer (C minor)                                                        Purcell
Spiritus Sanctus Vivicans (F minor)                   Hildegard of Bingen

Plorate (Jephtha) (E flat major)                                            Carissimi




The second half of the programme will include a selection of lighter music from the last 500 years, and will be introduced by members of the Consort.




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