Stile Antico's Shakespeare Program Returns In April, With "Sacred or Profane"
Stile Antico is back in the UK after a successful run this month in the U.S. performing "The Wonder of Will: Early and New Music Celebrating Shakespeare" with the Chorus of Westerly and The Folger Consort. The ensemble returns in April - dates below - alternating the Shakespeare-themed program with "Sacred or Profane", which explores the intermingling of sacred and secular music in the Renaissance.
Sunday's Music Before 1800 concert was described by BlogCritics as, "Perfectly in sync and well-balanced, the singers and instrumentalists turned the generous space of the church into a sonorous music hall... An expert choir this size (12 members) has enough heft for a dense, organ-like sound but can also stress the delicacy of individual voices. Singing both ancient and modern music, it was a joy to hear."
As usual, Stile Antico's tour blog chronicles the group's adventures on the road this past month, including the schedule-changing "Snowzilla", and sightseeing at museums and aquariums.
"The Wonder of Will" program commemorates the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in 1616. Shakespeare is honored with music by his two most illustrious musical contemporaries, William Byrd and John Dowland. These early works are complemented by settings of Shakespeare’s own texts by leading contemporary composers Nico Muhly and Huw Watkins, commissioned especially for Stile Antico, as well as a Will Ayton viol fantasy.
APR 9 - Seattle Early Music Guild - Seattle, WA
APR 10 - San Francisco Early Music Society - Berkeley, CA
APR 12 - St. Paul's School - Concord, NH
APR 13 - TBA - Brattleboro, VT
APR 15 - Christ Church Cathedral - Houston, TX
APR 16 - Early Music Now - Milwaukee, WI
Stile Antico wrapped up 2015 with a true holiday smash! "A Wondrous Mystery: Renaissance Choral Music for Christmas" rocketed to #2 on Billboard's Classical Chart, and was named a Best Album of The Year by The Telegraph UK, Sinfini Music, Fanfare and many others. Praised for its "joyous results" in The New York Times, it also received the Classics Today highest 10/10 rating, with the claim, "You won’t hear finer singing anywhere...you’ll return to this disc more often than just for the holidays.”
The album received 5 Stars from The Guardian UK and was hailed by BBC Music Magazine as “a triumph... and a reminder of the formidable credentials of this group, currently celebrating its tenth anniversary." To further celebrate the ensemble's anniversary, a special box set is also available, entitled "A Musical Journey into the English Renaissance". What's next? Stile Antico is rehearsing for the next album - a new program the ensemble presented last summer in Antwerp of motets from the earliest volumes of Giaches de Wert.
MORE PRAISE FOR "A WONDROUS MYSTERY"
"Beautiful voices, clear and honest engineering, and pretty package . . . no mystery about its appeal."
- Philadelphia Inquirer
"glorious performances... really sublime.”
- 4 Stars, Audiophile Audition
"Perfect tree-trimming music that also rewards the serious listener. More, please!”
- PS Audio
"musical gold by the beautifully expressive and crafted singing of Stile Antico.”
- Early Music Review