Online programme A Choral Odyssey features music from Hatfield House

PUBLISHED: 11:10 16 October 2020 | UPDATED: 15:37 19 October 2020

The Sixteen presents A Choral Odyssey, a series of online programmes including one from Hatfield House. Picture: Firedog.

The Sixteen presents A Choral Odyssey, a series of online programmes including one from Hatfield House. Picture: Firedog.

Firedog.

Hatfield House will feature in a new series of online programmes exploring sumptuous choral music and beautiful architecture.

A Choral Odyssey will feature Hatfield House. Picture: Tonwen Jones and TillyA Choral Odyssey will feature Hatfield House. Picture: Tonwen Jones and Tilly

The Sixteen presents A Choral Odyssey with founder and conductor Harry Christophers CBE and presented by actor Sir Simon Russell Beale.

A Choral Odyssey will feature five programmes, with each episode taking an in-depth look at a wide-ranging selection of choral music in locations that are relevant to the music and which inform the theme and choice of repertoire.

The locations include Hatfield House in Hertfordshire, Oxford’s Magdalen College, Our Lady of the Assumption & St Gregory in London, the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare’s Globe, and Penshurst Place in Kent.

Starting on November 18, episodes will be released every Wednesday, and all will be available to watch on demand until January 31, 2021.

The Sixteen presents A Choral Odyssey, a series of online programmes. Picture: Firedog.The Sixteen presents A Choral Odyssey, a series of online programmes. Picture: Firedog.

Lord Salisbury’s home in Hatfield is due to feature in the fourth programme on December 9.

The series will culminate in an ‘as live’ stream of The Sixteen’s Christmas at Cadogan concert on December 23.

Russell Beale, in conversation with Christophers, will discuss the socio-religious-political themes surrounding each composition.

Christophers will talk through each piece of music providing real insight, using singers from The Sixteen to demonstrate, before performing the works in full.

The Sixteen founder and conductor Harry Christophers. Picture: Firedog.The Sixteen founder and conductor Harry Christophers. Picture: Firedog.

A real voyage of choral discovery, the programmes reunite the winning combination of Russell Beale, Christophers and The Sixteen, a formula that proved so successful and popular for the BBC’s acclaimed series Sacred Music nearly a decade ago.

Harry Christophers said: “What a joy it is to be back doing what The Sixteen do best: making music.

“In these extraordinary times, we have had to be even more creative than usual, but it is essential that we do not lose sight of our identity.

“We have missed singing together and being together in person and that is why we are so excited to be performing this glorious music in these stunning locations.

“I am also delighted to be working with Simon again; we are looking forward to exploring what we have learned about how composers are influenced by architecture as well as the social, political and religious themes of the day.

“In some cases, the times are not unlike our own. We hope you find as much enjoyment in these programmes as we have had filming them.”

Simon Russell Beale added: “I am delighted to be joining up again with The Sixteen – a group that I have admired for many, many years.

“It’s a fascinating project for me, not least because I will be able to enjoy the company of Harry Christophers – the best possible guide to this wonderful repertoire of choral music.”

The present Marquess of Salisbury is patron of The Sixteen, and the Hatfield House episode will include music by Byrd and Pärt.

Although separated by over four centuries, both William Byrd and Arvo Pärt wrote their music in the face of strikingly similar adversity, enduring many years of persecution and finding solace in their sacred music.

Hertfordshire stately home Hatfield House is the seat of the Cecil family and where Elizabeth I learnt that she was to be Queen of England.

Byrd composed during her reign, and Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, and his family fostered the arts, supporting the composer and many other musicians. Byrd wrote his famous Pavane in memory of Robert.

To book tickets for the online streams, visit https://thesixteen.com/a-choral-odyssey/


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