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An improvisatory exploration of Renaissance soundworlds

Corvus Consort (vocal ensemble) and Music on the Edge (saxophone and flute)

The Corvus Consort presents an improvisatory exploration of Renaissance soundworlds in collaboration with Music on the Edge.

At the centre of the programme sits a selection of vocal music by some of Renaissance Europe’s most masterful composers, which will be extended and embellished by the saxophone and flute of Chris Caldwell and Susie Hodder-Williams of Music on the Edge. The harmonic language of the Renaissance lends itself effortlessly to a treatment of improvisation and experimentation that casts this music in a fresh and emotionally-heightened light.

In addition, medieval plainchant will feature as a starting point for both voices and instruments as part of improvisatory episodes that will begin and end the concert. The programme will also incorporate one or more Renaissance choral works performed by the Corvus Consort alone.

If the venue is a church with bells, a further item can be offered as part of the programme, provided that the church bells are audible inside the church and can be operated by chime hammers. For this item, the Consort’s director Freddie Crowley (who is also an experienced campanologist) would operate the chime hammers to bring the melodies of the church bells into improvisatory interplay with the instrumentalists of Music on the Edge.

The debut performance of this programme was cancelled due to the first national Coronavirus lockdown, but in summer 2020 the musicians were able to create a virtual recording of one item from their programme: Tomás Luis de Victoria’s O vos omnes. The recording was released online with a video set in the candlelit Holy Trinity Church, Gidleigh, where the performance had been due to take place. The video was also featured as part of The Sixteen’s Sounds Sublime Online Festival in July 2020.

Example hour-long programme:

Plainchant – Ave maris stella
Tomás Luis de Victoria – Ave maris stella
William Byrd – Ave verum corpus
Tomás Luis de Victoria – O vos omnes
Improvisation – Saxophone, Flute and Church Bells
Thomas Tallis – Sancte Deus
Orlande de Lassus – Prophetiae Sibyllarum (selection)
Cristóbal de Morales – O magnum mysterium
Plainchant – Kyrie De Angelis
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