This week I wanted to introduce you to the work of a British group called Ora Singers. Envisioned by the choral conductor Suzy Digby, the group champions the sacred music of contemporary composers, and does so in a very unique way. In a format similar to one of my first blog posts, they take a piece of ancient music and put it side by side with a contemporary setting of the same text. I would gladly take the credit for this idea, but it seems that ORA singers have been doing this for a number of years now. This format had led to dozens of new commissions over the past few years. Much new music had come into existence because of this group, and was shaped by the format in which they work. Resetting the texts of ancient music allows for art to be in dialogue with other art; it lets the new music comment on the old, and, in a way, assimilate it into itself.
To a historian of music, this process is the main driving force behind the creation of all new art, but Suzy Digby had managed to facilitate it, institutionalize it and make it conscious through the work of her choir.
Today I wanted to share with you the setting of an Advent text, for no other reason than the fact that I find it thoroughly enjoyable.
The first is a setting of Videte Miraculum by Thomas Tallis, followed by the same text by Richard Allain. Please feel free to listen to as much or as little of both as you like - the relationship between these pieces is immediately evident, although written 400 years apart. I find this very thought provoking and esthetically stimulating.
I hope you enjoy these pieces as much as I have. And I hope you are well these days! Vlad S.
P.s. If you'd like to hear more from ORA singers, they have recently released an on-line concert. Please feel free to ask me for the link, or find it on their YouTube channel.