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A HILLIARD SONGBOOK VELJO TORMIS Kullervo’s Message WILLIAM CORNISH Adieu mes amours CORNISH Ah, Robin ANON. Remember me my dear JACQUES ARCADELT Il bianco e dolce cigno ANON. (ITALIAN) Passacalli della vita PHILIPPE VERDELOT Divini occhi CIPRIANO DE RORE O sonno HOSOKAWA Three Japanese Folksongs

All Photos: Marco Borggreve

INTERVAL PÉROTIN Viderunt Omnes JOSQUIN DES PREZ Ave Maria ARVO PÄRT And one of the Pharisees ... TRAD. ARMENIAN, ARR. KOMITAS VARDAPET (1869–1935) Sharakans Ov zarmanali Hays hark nviranc ukhti Amen hayr surp Surp, Ter zorutheanc ARVO PÄRT Most Holy Mother of God

Veljo Tormis who was born near Talinn, is one of Estonia’s leading composers. His writing is inventive and expressive and his four voice Kullervo’s Message dates from 1994. The hero Kullervo was one of the legendary figures of Finnish mythology. His exploits and misfortunes are the subject of part of the Kalevala, the national epic of Finland. William Cornish (c.1465–1523) was a poet, actor and musician who served as Master of The Chapel Royal during the reign of Henry VIII. Several of his works are to be found in the Eton Choirbook, the main manuscript source for this period of English music. Remember me my dear is an anonymous, strophic piece with Scottish origins. The Franco-Flemish Jacques Arcadelt was born about 1507 near Namor. Although recognised for his sacred and secular music, he was famed above all for his madrigals. Il bianco e dolce cigno, for four voices dates from his Italian period. The anonymous Passacalli della vita is a humorous reminder of our mortality. Whether you are young or old, dance or play the bagpipes, no matter what potions you may take, we all must die. To believe otherwise is folly. Philippe Verdelot, French born, was one of the most important composers of the Italian madrigal before Arcadelt and one of the pioneers of the genre. His output of sacred music including masses and motets, influenced his contemporaries among them Arcadelt and Palestrina (1524–1594). His madrigals were set to a wide variety of poetic forms and Divini occhi was published around 1533.

Cipriano de Rore, another madrigal composer, is noted for the profound change which took place in his style between his early and late compositions and the striking innovation of his harmonic language. He composed over one hundred madrigals with O sonno dating from 1557. Toshio Hosokawa was born in Hiroshima in 1955. He studied in Tokyo, Berlin and Freiburg where his tutors included Klaus Huber and Brian Ferneyhough. His Three Japanese Folksongs were written for The Hilliard Ensemble and receive their first performance at the Sydney Festival.

And one of the Pharisees ... (1990) is a simple but extremely dramatic setting for vocal trio of words from the seventh chapter of St. Luke’s Gospel. It alternates plain homophonic writing for three voices, in the role of narrator, with solos for countertenor (as the Pharisee) and baritone, who sings the words of Jesus. In an echo of the final words of the Evangelist in Pärt’s Passio, Jesus’s final words “Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace” are sung, not by the solo baritone but in bare octaves by all three voices.

The name of Pérotin is inextricably associated with the music of the school of Notre Dame de Paris. The first written record we have of composers of the 12th century, including Léonin and Pérotin, comes from a monk known to us only as Anonymous IV. He lived a century later, possibly in Bury St. Edmunds, in England.

Pärt’s Most Holy Mother of God has the feel of a litany in which spare, solo vocal lines are interspersed with hypnotic, repeating chordal passages for all four voices, all to the same brief text. Perhaps surprisingly, this is the only work which Pärt has written for just the four Hilliards a cappella. All his other pieces for them involve other singers or instruments.

Perhaps his most important contribution was to set in motion the idea that settings of plainsong did not have to be in just two parts. Pérotin’s greatest fame rests on two works from the last decade of the 12th century: settings of the graduals for the third mass on Christmas Day and the mass on the feast of St Stephen, Viderunt Omnes and Sederunt principes both written in four vocal parts.

In November 2004, The Hilliard Ensemble were invited to Armenia to record and perform some of the traditional sacred songs (Sharakans) of the Armenian church, arranged by the monk, musicologist and composer Komitas Vardapet (1869–1935).

One of the greatest composers of the Renaissance, Josquin des Prez, stands on a par with Dufay, Palestrina and William Byrd (c. 1547–1623). He has left an enormous legacy of sacred and secular pieces in both Latin and French. Since their first meeting, at a BBC recording in the autumn of 1985, The Hilliard Ensemble and Arvo Pärt have had a close and fruitful relationship. They have recorded and given hundreds of performances of many of Pärt’s works including the large-scale choral and orchestral pieces Miserere and Litany, both of which he wrote for them.

His life was full of upset and spanned the Armenian genocide in Turkey, during which he was forcibly exiled. His final years were spent in a psychiatric clinic in Paris. The works in this program are some of his arrangements of traditional church melodies.



ANON. (ENGLISH C. 1300) Thomas gemma Cantuarie ANON. (ENGLISH C13TH) Dou way Robin


JOHN DOWLAND ANON. Lachrymae pavan for 5 viols (ENGLISH C13TH) Saint Thomas honour we GAVIN BRYARS Cadman Requiem WALTER FRYE (6 Viol Version) (D. 1474) Ave Regina JOHN PLUMMER (C.1410–C.1483) O pulcherrima mulierum

The anonymous Thomas gemma Cantuarie has two texts, sung simultaneously by the two upper voices, about two different Thomases. The first, St. Thomas of Canterbury, is a famous figure in English history. He was a loyal servant of King Henry II, being appointed to the post of Lord Chancellor in 1155. In 1162 he was made Archbishop of Canterbury and from this point there developed an irreconcilable difference between the King and the Archbishop over who should have ultimate authority over the Church. The animosity between the two grew so great that on 29th December 1170 four of Henry’s knights took it upon themselves to confront Thomas in Canterbury Cathedral and, ultimately, to murder him. Thomas of Dover, is a much more obscure figure. He was a monk in the Priory of St. Martin and was killed by French troops in 1295. It is probable that this piece was written shortly after his death. About Walter Frye we know next to nothing. He was probably composing during the middle decades of the 15th century. His Ave Regina seems to have been his most popular piece and representations of it can be found in at least three contemporary paintings. John Plummer was, by 1441, a member of the Chapel Royal of Henry VI and up to 1467 he was still listed as serving Edward IV. The later part of his life seems to have been spent in Windsor where he was a verger of St. George’s Chapel. William Cornish was Master of The Chapel Royal under Henry VIII from 1509 until his death in 1523. He made a significant contribution to the repertoire of secular partsongs, which were popular at court at this time, and a handful of his sacred pieces survive, including the beautiful Ave Maria, which we perform in this program. Nico Muhly’s My Days was written in 2012 for The Hilliard Ensemble and Fretwork to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the publication of Orlando Gibbons’ ‘Madrigals and Mottets of 5 parts, apt for viols and voyces’, which includes his famous setting of The Silver Swan.

Muhly sets a portion of Psalm 39 (‘Behold, thou hast made my days as it were a span long’) and also extracts from a 17th-century report on Gibbons’ death. The marriage of voices and instruments in this work is beautifully balanced, much as in the music of Gibbons himself. John Dowland (1563–1626) was an English composer and lutenist. He worked in Paris, in the service of the English Ambassador and later at the court of Christian IV of Denmark. In 1612, he was appointed as a lutenists to James I of England. His Lachrymae or Seaven Teares were published in 1604. Of the Cadman Requiem, Gavin Bryars writes: Cadman Requiem was written in memory of my friend and sound engineer Bill Cadman, who was killed in the Lockerbie air crash in December 1988. It is in five sections and sets only two of the traditional requiem texts – “Kyrie” and “Agnus Dei” – with the addition of “In Paradisum”, which although from the Order of Burial, is set by Fauré and others. The other two sections, which come in between the traditional parts, are Bede’s paraphrase of Caedmon’s Creation-Hymn (in Latin like the three traditional movements) and the original Caedmon poem (in 7th century Northumbrian). The surname “Cadman” is a corruption of “Caedmon”, the first English poet who, though he considered himself to lack any poetic skill, discovered the gift of poetic utterance when “a certain person” appeared to him in a dream. The piece was written in the spring of 1989 for the four voices of The Hilliard Ensemble accompanied, in the original version, by 2 violas and cello, with optional double bass. Another version was made in the autumn of 1997 for The Hilliard Ensemble to perform with the viol consort Fretwork. It is dedicated to Bill Cadman.

CONSORT ECLECTUS Treble Viol Laura Vaughan Treble/ Tenor Viol Laura Moore Treble Viol Brooke Green Tenor Viol Victoria Watts Bass Viol Daniel Yeadon Bass Viol/Violone Ruth Wilkinson Consort Eclectus brings the rich repertoire of the viol consort to Australian audiences. Described as ‘heaven sent’ in their debut concert at the Melbourne Autumn Music Festival in 2001, Consort Eclectus has since developed to play an integral role in Early Music performance in Australia. Resident in Melbourne, the group performs regularly in their own subscription series in which they continue to delight with their imaginative programming and fine ensemble work. This is a flexible group specialising in English and Italian Renaissance music, often joining forces with solo voices and vocal ensembles. They have commissioned two new works for viols and voice by Australian composers Natalie Williams and Calvin Bowman that can be heard on their cd Music for Viols and Voice. The consort has performed in the Canberra Chamber Music Festival, The Organs of the Ballarat Goldfields Festival, the Port Fairy Spring Early Music Festival and the Melbourne Autumn Music Festival. Consort Eclectus have been recorded for broadcast by the ABC including Sunday Live. For this performance at the Sydney Festival the consort is collaborating with Sydney musicians Brooke Green and Daniel Yeadon.

THE HILLIARD ENSEMBLE Countertenor David James Tenor Rogers Covey-Crump Tenor Steven Harrold Baritone Gordon Jones Unrivalled for its formidable reputation in the fields of both early and new music, The Hilliard Ensemble is one of the world’s finest vocal chamber groups. Its distinctive style and highly developed musicianship engage the listener as much in medieval and Renaissance repertoire as in works specially written by living composers. The group’s standing as an early music ensemble dates from the 1980s with its series of successful recordings for EMI (many of which have been rereleased on Virgin) and its own mail-order record label Hilliard LIVE, now available on the Coro label; but from the start it has paid equal attention to new music. The 1988 recording of Arvo Pärt’s Passio began a fruitful relationship with both Pärt and the Munichbased record company ECM, and was followed by their recording of Pärt’s Litany. The group has recently commissioned other composers from the Baltic States, including Veljo Tormis and Erkki-Sven Tüür, adding to a rich repertoire of new music from Gavin Bryars, Heinz Holliger, John Casken, James MacMillan, Elena Firsova and many others. In addition to many a cappella discs, collaborations for ECM include most notably Officium and Mnemosyne with the Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek, a partnership which continues to develop and renew itself, and Morimur with the German Baroque violinist Christoph Poppen and soprano Monika Mauch. Based on the research of Prof. Helga Thoene, this is a unique interweaving of Bach’s Partita in D minor for solo violin with a selection of Chorale verses crowned by the epic Ciaconna, in which instrumentalist and vocalists are united.

The group continues in its quest to forge relationships with living composers, often in an orchestral context. In 1999, they premiered Miroirs des Temps by Unsuk Chin with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Kent Nagano. In the same year, James MacMillan’s Quickening, commissioned jointly by the BBC and the Philadelphia Orchestra, was premiered at the BBC Proms. With Lorin Maazel and the New York Philharmonic, they performed the world premiere of Stephen Hartke’s 3rd Symphony which was subsequently premiered in Europe by the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken Kaiserslautern and Christoph Poppen. They have also collaborated with the Munich Chamber Orchestra with a new work by Erkki-Sven Tüür. In 2007 they joined forces with the Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra to premiere Nunc Dimittis by the Russian composer Alexander Raskatov, also recording this for ECM. In 2009 worked with the Arditti Quartet performing a substantial new work, Et Lux by Wolfgang Rihm. A new development for the group began in August 2008, with the premiere at the Edinburgh International Festival of a music theatre project written by Heiner Goebbels in a production by the Théâtre Vidy, Lausanne: I went to the house but did not enter. This has subsequently been presented throughout Europe and the US with some very successful performances at the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts in November 2012. Alongside a large number of a cappella concerts, the group continues to tour their third collaboration with Jan Garbarek, Officium Novum, throughout Europe. The 13/14 season sees The Hilliard Ensemble celebrate their 40th Anniversary, commencing with a special concert in London, which sees the group reunited with some former members to perform a special commission by Gavin Bryars. The Ensemble will also perform in Australia (for Sydney Festival), USA, Europe and the UK.

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The Hilliard Ensemble Program  

For more information and tickets see

The Hilliard Ensemble Program  

For more information and tickets see