Ars Nova Singers will perform pieces for 40 parts in surround sound

Music by Striggio, Tallis and Gesualdo form a “Renaissance Retrospective”

By Peter Alexander

In the history of European choral music, there are two major works that were composed for 40 different voice parts.

ANScircleground

Ars Nova Singers

Yes, that’s four-zero, 40 parts, which is really a lot, and the size alone has made these Brobdingnagian works well known. For the same reason they are not often heard live, but both will be performed on the same concert by Boulder’s Ars Nova Singers and director Thomas Edward Morgan.

Titled “Renaissance Retrospective,” the concert will be performed in Denver Friday (7:30 p.m. Feb. 19 at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church) and in Boulder Saturday (7:30 p.m. Feb. 20 at St. Johns Episcopal Church).

Tallis for site

Thomas Tallis

Both works were written in the 16th century, and indeed one probably inspired the other. The first was Ecce beatam lucem by Italian composer Alessandro Striggio from the 1560s. Shortly after it was introduced in England in that decade, it was followed by the more famous Spem in alium by English composer Thomas Tallis. Those two works serve as bookends on the program, which opens with Striggio and closes with Tallis, recalling the order in which they were written.

In between, Ars Nova will perform music by Carlo Gesualdo and Orazio Vecchi, Italian composers who were working a couple of decades after Striggio and Tallis. All the music will be sung a capella.

Read more in Boulder Weekly.

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Renaissance Retrospective: Music for Many Voices

Morgan.mtntop

Thomas Edward Margan

Ars Nova Singers
Thomas Edward Morgan, artistic director
Music by Alessandro Striggio, Thomas Tallis,
Carlo Gesualdo and Orazio Vecchi

7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 19, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 1600 Grant St., Denver
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20, St. John’s Episcopal Church, 1419 Pine St., Boulder

Tickets

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