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Gerald Carpenter: Two Choirs to Perform Heavenly Serenade

Sidney Sussex Choir of England will join the Quire of Voyces for a concert Sunday

Like so many English composers, Charles Hubert Parry looks more like a banker than a musician.
Like so many English composers, Charles Hubert Parry looks more like a banker than a musician.

The world-renowned Sidney Sussex Choir of Cambridge, England, led by Dr. David Skinner, will make a one-day stand in Santa Barbara to perform in a joint concert with the sublime Quire of Voyces, directed by Nathan Kreitzer, at 3 p.m. Sunday in First United Methodist Church, 305 E. Anapamu St.

The program is divided into two parts. Part One, “Music of the Renaissance,” will feature works by Jean l’Heritier (c. 1480-c. 1551), John Taverner (d. 1545), Philippe de Monte (1521-1603), Robert Parsons (c. 1535-1572), Roland de Lassus (c. 1532-1594), Tomas Luis de Victoria (1548-1611), William Byrd (c. 1540-1623), Thomas Tomkins (1572-1656), Thomas Weelkes (1576-1623) and Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625).

Part Two will include works by Edgar Bainton (1880-1956), William Henry Harris (1883-1973), Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958), Charles Hubert Parry (1848-1918), Gerald Finzi (1901-1956), Herbert Howells (1892-1983), John Tavener (b. 1944), Michael Elgin (b. 1975) and Eric Whitacre (b. 1970).

This is clearly a rare opportunity to hear some — in fact, a lot of — celestial singing. Old and new, the selections favor the Anglo-Saxon choral composers, which is certainly fitting since the English, including the Americans, are doing more to keep up the choir as a living instrument than any other people I can think of.

With Lassus, Victoria, L’Heritier and De Monte, the continentals are ably represented, though there is no Claudio Monteverdi. Glenn Gould used to claim that Gibbons was his favorite composer, but I know very little of his vocal music, so this, like every concert that Kreitzer has anything to do with, will be a consciousness expanding afternoon, as well as a gorgeous one.

Tickets to this concert are $20 for general admission and $15 for students, and they are available at the door.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributor. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews.

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