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Venetian Voices: The Splendors of San Marco

Wednesday, February 8, 2017 8 PM Church of St. Ignatius Loyola
Peter Phillips and The Tallis Scholars train and perform alongside young choral singers in a multi-day workshop that culminates in this joint concert. It features signature polychoral repertoire written expressly for St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice by Willaert and Giovanni Gabrieli, as well as works by composers such as Palestrina and Victoria from elsewhere in Renaissance and Baroque Europe who were influenced by the Venetian style.


The Tallis Scholars
Carnegie Hall Chamber Chorus
Peter Phillips, Conductor
George Steel, Conductor
Daniel Hyde, Organ


WILLAERT "Lauda Jerusalem Dominum"

WILLAERT "Ave virgo sponsa Dei"

ANDREA GABRIELI Ricercar del primo tono

CAVALLI Requiem: Missa pro defunctis

CAVALLI Kyrie: Missa pro defunctis

CAVALLI Dies irae: Missa pro defunctis

PALESTRINA “Laudate pueri Dominum”

DE VICTORIA "Salve regina"

DE RORE "Descendi in hortum meum"

ANDREA GABRIELI "Frais et gaillard" from Canzoni alla francese et ricercari ariosi

GIOVANNI GABRIELI "Jubilate Deo omnis terra"

GIOVANNI GABRIELI "Omnes gentes plaudite manibus"

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.

La Serenissima: Music and Arts from the Venetian Republic is sponsored by Chubb.

The Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism has granted La Serenissima: Music and Arts from the Venetian Republic its official support (“Patrocinio”) in recognition of Carnegie Hall’s celebration of Italy’s extraordinarily rich cultural legacy.

Carnegie Hall gratefully acknowledges the support of the Ministry of Heritage and Culture and Tourism in Rome; the Embassy of Italy in Washington, DC; and the Consulate General of Italy in New York.

The Tallis Scholars Workshops are supported, in part, by The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.

This concert is made possible, in part, by an endowment fund for choral music established by S. Donald Sussman in memory of Judith Arron and Robert Shaw.

At a Glance

The architectural splendor of Venice’s vast and iconic Byzantine-style Basilica Cattedrale Patriarcale di San Marco is mirrored in a musical heritage of equal magnificence. This evening’s program offers a sample of the sumptuous vocal and organ music heard at St. Mark’s Basilica in the 16th and 17th centuries. Both the building’s interior plan, with its intersecting naves and mosaicked domes, and its exceptionally reverberant acoustics favored the development of large-scale polychoral music. Fitting musical structures to architectural structures, the basilica’s famed cori spezzati, or “divided choirs,” were separated spatially as well as musically, with perched musicians in balconies and organ lofts who coordinated with those near the main altar. In addition to its choirs of men and boys, the church maintained a top-notch instrumental ensemble used for especially important occasions.

Beginning in 1527 with Adrian Willaert, the first musician of international stature to hold the coveted post of choirmaster, a long line of distinguished composers and performers called San Marco their musical home. Some of them, like Francesco Cavalli in the 17th century, simultaneously pursued careers outside the basilica—in his case, as Italy’s most successful and celebrated composer of opera. The two Gabrielis, Andrea and his nephew Giovanni, were particularly adept at exploiting the resources San Marco offered, cultivating a grand and festive style that was rich in color and dramatic contrast, and emblematic of the Venetian Republic’s proud civic image. The enduring appeal of their works helped ensure that St. Mark’s Basilica would remain the center of Venice’s musical life for centuries to come. 


The Tallis Scholars

The Tallis Scholars was founded in 1973 by director Peter Phillips. Through its recordings and concert performances, the group has established itself as a leading ...

The Tallis Scholars was founded in 1973 by director Peter Phillips. Through its recordings and concert performances, the group has established itself as a leading exponent of Renaissance sacred music throughout the world. Mr. Phillips has worked with the ensemble to create-through good tuning and blend-the purity and clarity of sound that he feels best serves the Renaissance repertoire, allowing every detail of the musical lines to be heard.

The Tallis Scholars performs in both sacred and secular venues, giving approximately 70 concerts each year across the globe. The group's highlights have included a tour of China in 1999 and a performance in the Sistine Chapel in April 1994 to commemorate the final stage of the complete restoration of the Michelangelo frescoes--a performance that was broadcast simultaneously on Italian and Japanese television. The ensemble has commissioned many contemporary composers during its history: In 1998, the group celebrated its 25th anniversary with a special concert at London's National Gallery, premiering a work by Sir John Tavener written for the group and narrated by Sting. An additional performance of the work was given with Sir Paul McCartney in New York in 2000.

Recordings by The Tallis Scholars have received many awards. In 1987, the recording of Josquin's Missa La sol fa re mi and Missa Pange lingua was named Gramophone's Record of the Year--the first recording of early music ever to win this coveted award. In 1989, The Tallis Scholars received two Diapason d'Or awards for recordings of a mass and motets by Lassus, and Josquin's two masses based on the chanson L'homme armé. The recording of Palestrina's Missa Assumpta est Maria and Missa Sicut lilium earned Gramophone's Early Music Award in 1991; the ensemble received another Early Music Award for its recording of music by Rore in 1994 and again in 2005 for its album of music by Browne. In 2010, the ensemble released three 4-CD box sets titled The Best of The Tallis Scholars, one for each decade of its history. The Tallis Scholars' ongoing project to record Josquin's complete cycle of masses, when completed, will cover nine discs.

Peter Phillips

Peter Phillips has made an impressive, if unusual, reputation for himself by dedicating his life's work to the research and performance of Renaissance polyphony. Having won a scholarship to Oxford in 1972, Mr. Phillips studied Renaissance music with David Wulstan and Denis Arnold, and gained experience in conducting small vocal ensembles, already experimenting with the rarer gems of the repertoire. He founded The Tallis Scholars in 1973, with which he has now appeared in more than 1,900 concerts and made more than 50 recordings, to encourage interest in polyphony in audiences all over the world.

Apart from The Tallis Scholars, Mr. Phillips continues to collaborate with other specialist ensembles. He has appeared with the BBC Singers, Collegium Vocale Ghent, and Netherlands Chamber Choir, and currently with the Choeur de Chambre de Namur, Intrada of Moscow, Musica Reservata of Barcelona, and El León de Oro of Oviedo. He gives numerous master classes and choral workshops every year around the world and is also artistic director of The Tallis Scholars Summer Schools annual choral courses in Uppingham, England; Seattle, Washington; and Sydney, Australia. In 2014, Mr. Phillips launched the London International A Cappella Choir Competition in St. John's Smith Square, attracting choirs from all over the world.

In addition to conducting, Mr. Phillips is well known as a writer. For 31 years, he has contributed a regular music column to The Spectator. In 1995, he became the owner and publisher of The Musical Times, the oldest continuously published music journal in the world. Mr. Phillips's first book, English Sacred Music, 1549-1649, was published by Gimell in 1991, while his second, What We Really Do--an unblinking account of what touring is like, alongside insights about the make-up and performance of polyphony--was published in 2003 and again in 2013.

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George Steel

George Steel founded and conducts two acclaimed ensembles, the Vox Vocal Ensemble and the Gotham City Orchestra. He has worked in New York and around the world as a ...

George Steel founded and conducts two acclaimed ensembles, the Vox Vocal Ensemble and the Gotham City Orchestra. He has worked in New York and around the world as a producer, conductor, composer, singer, pianist, teacher, musicologist, and impresario. A versatile performer, Mr. Steel is one of a select rank of musicians to have performed at both Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center as a conductor, pianist, and singer.

An advocate for early music, he has conducted hundreds of acclaimed performances with the Vox Vocal Ensemble and other groups, and has created or commissioned dozens of editions of early music, including publishing the complete works of composer Robert Parsons (ca. 1535-1572) on a website, leading to a wave of performances and recordings.

Mr. Steel has collaborated with an array of artists, including Maurizio Pollini, Luciano Berio, Iannis Xenakis, Odetta, Elliott Carter, Mavis Staples, Krzysztof Penderecki, Ned Rorem, Peter Lieberson, Steve Reich, Lou Reed, Rufus Wainwright, Ornette Coleman, Milton Babbitt, Pierre Boulez, John Zorn, Helmut Lachenmann, and Leonard Bernstein, among others.

As an impresario, Mr. Steel has produced ballet, opera, theater, films, recordings, art installations, and concerts. For four years as general manager and artistic director, he led the fight to save New York City Opera. During his tenure, he produced New York stage premieres of Bernstein's A Quiet Place, Thomas Adès's Powder Her Face, Morton Feldman's Neither, John Zorn's La machine de l'être, Mark-Anthony Turnage's Anna Nicole, and Rossini's Mosè in Egitto, among other acclaimed productions.

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Daniel Hyde

Born in the UK, Daniel Hyde was a boy chorister at Durham Cathedral. He won the organ scholarship to Cambridge University's King's College, where he served under Dr. ...

Born in the UK, Daniel Hyde was a boy chorister at Durham Cathedral. He won the organ scholarship to Cambridge University's King's College, where he served under Dr. Stephen Cleobury and studied organ with Dame Gillian Weir and Nicolas Kynaston. Upon graduation with honors, he was appointed as director of music at Cambridge's Jesus College in 2004, moving in 2009 to the post of informator choristarum at Oxford University's Magdalen College, where he was also an associate professor of music. In September 2016, he moved to New York City to become organist and director of music at Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue.

Mr. Hyde has been in increasing demand as a conductor of choirs and orchestras, and has worked with the BBC Singers, The Bach Choir in London, Britten Sinfonia, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, and City of London Sinfonia. A broad discography can be found on the Opus Arte, Linn, Naxos, and EMI labels.

As an organist, recent recital engagements have taken Mr. Hyde to Austria, Finland, Germany, Holland, and Australia. He also has been a concerto soloist with the BBC Philharmonic. With Britten Sinfonia, he has performed Poulenc's Organ Concerto and has recorded Hindemith's Organ Concerto to great critical acclaim. Regularly accompanying the BBC Singers on BBC Radio 3, he has appeared at the BBC Proms on numerous occasions, making his solo debut there in 2010 with a performance of Bach's "Canonic Variations" at the organ of Royal Albert Hall. In the 2014-2015 season, he performed the complete organ works of Bach on the Dobson organ at Oxford's Merton College.

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