On Wednesday 21st June, Icosa performed half of a concert alongside Brighton Consort in the Voices of London Festival at St James' Sussex Gardens, Paddington.
Billed as an Early Music Night, we decided to shake things up a bit by performing music of four old composers: Byrd, Frye, Weelkes and Purcell and then juxtaposing them with four living composers: Daniel Lim, Sheena Phillips, Marco Galvani and myself.
Although obviously brand new, all these pieces are steeped in old traditions, both textually and compositionally. Daniel Lim's 'Rayleigh Scattering' sets the text 'O Nata Lux' - words familiar to Tallis fans. Sheena Phillips' 'Evening Prayer' uses the same text as Tallis' Canon, a well known hymn tune and Stedman's Triples, a well known bellringer tune. Marco's piece 'Ave Sanctissima Maria' rejuvenates old techniques of polyphony with his use of 3 against 2 and 4, dynamic variance and harmonic interest and my piece 'Te Lucis Ante Terminum' uses the original plainchant as a three-layered base to create architecture for the ensuing unorthodox harmony to inhabit.
The singers were on top form even though it was the hottest day of the year. Jackets were ditched and the tenors in particular were feeling the heat but we managed to perform well and the audience enjoyed our part of the concert. There were some weird moments - chairs began to make some heat-related clicking noises during Sheena Phillips' piece, a Pigeon was flying back and forth inside the church and my inability to pronounce the word 'mirror'.
Brighton Consort gave a spirited performance in the first half, executing some tricky passages of Victoria with great passion and it was easy to see there was a clear love for the music they sing. We performed Tallis and Guerrero together at the end of each half and both pieces felt very special. Coming together to sing and unifying under a love of music is something that we can all hold on to during these times we live in.
We perform the same programme on Monday at St James's Piccadilly as part of LIACCC. Hope to see you there for what will hopefully be a much cooler environment.
Singers: Freya Turton, Ellie Partridge, Victoria Meteyard, Sarah Maxted, Jess Haig, Jenny Stewart, Sarah Champion, Amy Blythe, Clare Sutherland, Lydia Ward, Alex Hume, Marco Galvani, Charles Black, Jeremy Hubbard, Henry Page, Robbie Medina, Finn Mather, Alex Pratley, Dan Vening.
Here's a short clip of us in action from Hannah Cox, part of the Voices of London Team, on Twitter