Artistic Associate Christopher Wheeldon draws on the same music and design team used for the popular production of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland to create an evocative reimagining of The Winter's Tale, Shakespeare's enduring story of jealousy, compassion and forgiveness.
English composer Thomas Tallis witnessed dramatic changes of religion under four monarchs, and his career accordingly represents the development of polyphonic church music in Renaissance England. Along with his student and fellow Roman Catholic, William Byrd, Tallis was one of the earliest composers to publish music under royal patent in England, and his works demonstrated the shifting doctrines and styles of liturgy in the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I. This 2017 Obsidian release features one piece with a text by Henry VIII's sixth and last wife, Katherine Parr, which gives the album its title, though the mix of Roman Catholic and Anglican pieces on the program suggests that "songs of Reformation" may be seen as one-sided. In any case, the performances by the vocal ensemble Alamire and the viol consort Fretwork put the emphasis on Tallis and his varied output, rather than on the theological preferences of royalty. The result is a well-balanced portrait of Tallis, and his choral music is given transparent textures and clear diction by the 14-voice choir, which maintains independence of parts while offering an evenly blended tone.
This release has been sourced from the Richard Itter archive. The collection is very important for collectors because it has never been released before onto the market. Beecham caught 'live' often showed the mercurial side of his character and no performance was the same, either in the studio or in the concert hall. David Patmore confirms this in his booklet essay: 'What Beecham sought at all times was freshness, and his unpredictability was a way to achieve this'. So here we have different and valuable alternatives to the studio performances. All the performances included here are from Beecham's final years, between 1954 when he had fully established the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and himself as central figures in England's musical life, to 1959 where he conducted extraordinarily memorable accounts of Haydn's Symphony No.101 and Brahms' Symphony No.2.