The BBC Singers perform 'Spem in Alium' and the piece that inspired it, along with three other works – including a world premiere – at Milton Court Concert Hall.
Even before EL James chose it to provide the musical backdrop for 50 Shades of Grey, securing its immortality, Thomas Tallis’s 40-part motet, Spem in Alium, was regarded as one of the crowning glories of Renaissance polyphony. Less well known, however, is the piece that inspired it – Alessandro Striggio’s Ecce beatam lucem, also for 40 voices, which Tallis would have heard in London during the late 1560s before composing his masterpiece in about 1570.
The works have much in common harmonically – though Tallis’s is arguably more exciting, running the full emotional gamut from haunting melancholy to fiery exultation. The other thing they have in common is that, for fairly understandable logistical reasons, they are rarely performed.
Enter the BBC Singers. With 40 voices at their disposal, they’re taking the opportunity to perform both pieces at Milton Court Concert Hall on 21 October. No recording can compare to the power of this music in a live setting, so this is concert is a must for early music lovers.
Led by Stephen Cleobury, the distinguished organist and conductor, the programme will also have a more modern edge, featuring works by contemporary composers including Gabriel Jackson, Robin Walker and Ivan Moody (his piece, The Land that is Not, will be receiving its world premiere). But it’s the Striggio and the Tallis – which begin and conclude the evening – that make this such an unusual concert. The chance to hear these extraordinary works, performed to a high standard, is simply not one to pass up.
|What||BBC Singers – Spem in Alium, Milton Court Concert Hall|
|Where||Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Barbican (underground)|
On 21 Oct 14, 7:30 PM – 12:00 AM
|Website||Click here to book via the Barbican's website:|