MixSix: Six highlights of York Early Music Festival

5 Jul 2012 @ 11.47 am
| Entertainment

Robert Hollingsworth will direct a prom performance at York Minster. Photograph: Matt Brodie Photography
World-class musicians from across the globe are here for the York Early Music Festival, which starts tomorrow.

Early music covers pretty much everything composed up to the middle of the 1700s. And musicians from Bolivia, Mexico and Israel will join their peers from across Europe to perform in the city.

Venues are as venerable as the music. They include York Minster, the 650-year-old Merchant Adventurers’ Hall and the National Centre for Early Music situated within the converted medieval church of St Margaret’s, Walmgate.

Naturally enough, Olympic ideals of excellence, aspiration and international harmony are at the heart of this year’s festival with its theme Crossing Borders.

The full programme can be found here. But to give you a taste, here are our six Mix picks for these early days.

1. The Earth Resounds

performed by The Sixteen
directed by Harry Christophers

Featuring arguably the three most celebrated composers from the Franco-Flemish school of the Renaissance, Brumel, Josquin and Lassus, this programme is centred around movements from the staggering 12-part Missa Et ecce terrae motus by Brumel (the ‘Earthquake Mass’). After Josquin, Brumel is considered one of the greatest composers of his generation.

Friday July 6, 7.30pm
York Minster

2. Bolivian Baroque

performed by Florilegium and the Arakaendar Bolivia Choir
directed by Ashley Solomon

Uplifting interpretations of the sacred and secular works from the hitherto unknown baroque music from the Jesuit missions in Bolivia. In this concert they perform they perform pieces from the archive of the Moxos and Chiquitos Indians.

Saturday July 7, 7.30pm
St Michael le Belfrey Church, High Petergate

3. The Route of the New World; from Spain to Mexico

performed by Hesperion XXI
directed by Jordi Savall

A programme which puts music from the Old and New World side by side and explores pieces based on the frenetic style of the Portuguese dance, the ‘Folia’, through the musicians’ amazing improvisatory skills. Earlier in the day Jordi Savall (right) will be presented with the fourth biennial York Early Music Festival Lifetime Achievement Award by Catherine Bott at the end of the live broadcast of the BBC Radio 3 Early Music Show.

Sunday July 8, 7.30pm
Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, University of York

4. Dialogues of Sorrow

performed by Gallicantus
directed by Gabriel Crouch

Gallicantus, with Elizabeth Kenny on lute, perform their critically acclaimed programme Dialogues of Sorrow (Passions on the Death of Prince Henry – 1612) which reflects the huge outpouring of grief in both the sacred and secular music of the time of the young Prince’s tragically early death. Take tissues.

Monday July 9, 7pm
NCEM, St Margaret’s Church

5. Mass in 40 parts (1566)

performed by I Fagiolini with The English Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble, Rose Consort of Viols, Fretwork, The City Musick and the University of York Chamber Choir
directed by Robert Hollingworth

Staged in the round in the glorious surroundings of York Minster this performance of Italian Alessandro Striggio’s masterwork is given by a rare mix of the UK’s finest artists. Said to have inspired Thomas Tallis to write Spem in alium. The 8pm performance is supported by imove, a Cultural Olympiad programme in Yorkshire and is followed by a 10.15pm illuminated Prom.

Thursday July 12, 8pm & 10.15pm
NCEM, St Margaret’s Church

6. ‘il Mantovano Hebreo’: Music by Salomone Rossi

performed by Profeti della Quinta

Winners of the 2011 York Early Music Festival International Young Artists Competition, Profeti della Quinta celebrate the many faceted art of the Italian-Jewish composers Salomone Rossi with a programme of his beautiful and refined madrigals and polyphonic settings of Hebrew prayers and psalms.

Saturday July 14, 1pm
NCEM, St Margaret’s Church