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Music from an earlier Elizabethan era- for a change


A break from jazz. My old college chum Harry Christophers – as a pair we used to get completely thrashed at pool in a filthy pub on the Holloway Road – was out directing the “Lamentations of Jeremiah” Robert White(c. 1538 – 1574). White was choirmaster at Ely (above)…..

The concert was at King’s Place on Friday. The sustained lines of Elizabethan polyphony; singers , just one voice to a part, blending superbly, but also bringing out the crunching dissonances; definitely helped by the King’s Place acoustic at its best…. the whole thing was mind-blowing.

Others sing this renaissance music. The Tallis Scholars…the Hilliard Ensemble also perform it like Christophers’ group, one-to-a-part…. but I’m wondering if Christophers’ younger singers aren’t now pushing the technical and expressive bar ever higher, allowing this music, nearly 500 years old, to finally speak in all its powerful simplicity.

I was curious to read a good review of a CD the Lamentations, of all places, on the Allaboutjazz website.

These days Dr. Harry Christophers has big conducting jobs in Boston , Madrid and Manchester. Just as well: we were seriously crap at pool.

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