The 2008/9 season has some big-time anniversaries on display, as well as some new opportunities for us. Purcell was born in 1659 and Handel died in 1759. Vaughan Williams died in 1958. More relevant to renaissance polyphonists perhaps, Jacob Obrecht may have been born in 1458. One notices that none of these anniversaries is a straight hundred; but then many promoters make no distinction between fifties and hundreds anyway. The upshot for the Tallis Scholars has been the invitation to perform in the Promenade Concerts for a second year running: and this time without the paraphernalia of 40 (or 60) voices with instruments, and guest conductors. No, this time it is four-part music: a four-voice mass by Obrecht (‘Malheur me bat’) and a four-voice mass by Josquin (‘Malheur me bat’). We shall even perform the three-voice chanson ‘Malheur me bat’, maybe by Ockeghem, with newly composed words since the original survives only with a title.
Our Purcell rating, which has always been there over the years while flickering between little and not much, is certainly set to rise in the 08/09 season: a pleasure for me. Like Bach, I have always counted Purcell among those who in another life would have done well in the renaissance period. We shall sing his *Jehovah, quam multi sunt* to an organ (tuned to A=395) in La Chaise Dieu, France; and give repeated perfomances of his a cappella music throughout the year. We can’t do so much for Handel, who always insisted on using an orchestra.
The winter months of 08 and early weeks of 09 have brought us more concerts than usual, including an exceptional number in the UK. The calendar will give the details, but the venues include London (our debut in the Cadogan Hall in a mini-festival I am hosting), Bath, Leicester, Lichfield, Guildford, Newcastle-upon-Tyne (our debut in the Sage concert hall) and St John’s Smith Square, Bristol, Dorchester (Dorset), Cadogan again, St David’s, Spitalfields and York. Not so many years ago we hardly sang at home. In late March we shall appear in Mexico (Monterrey) for the first time.