New York Polyphony
Sing Thee Nowell
Friday, December 7, 2018 | 8:00 pm
Duke Performances’ 2018/19 Classical Series subscriptions — including the Chamber Arts Series, Piano Recital Series, and Vocal Ensemble Series — are now on sale, including renewals and new subscriptions. Renewals and new subscriptions can be purchased online, via phone at 919-684-4444, and in person at the Duke University Box Office, Monday through Friday, 11 AM to 6 PM.
Praised for “a rich, natural sound that’s larger and more complex than the sum of its parts” by NPR, and for “beautifully blended voices of individual distinction” (The Independent), New York Polyphony has made a name for itself by exploring the similarities between ancient and modern music. Known for their “resplendent and elegant” recordings of renaissance masterpieces (San Francisco Chronicle), these four singers have also commissioned many new works from living composers. Twice nominated for a GRAMMY Award, New York Polyphony is one of the world’s most sought-after male vocal quartets.
At Duke Performances, the quartet offers Sing Thee Nowell, an evening of exquisite sacred Christmas music. Spanning nine centuries, New York Polyphony sings early polyphonic works by Pérotin and Byttering; lush new compositions inspired by ancient music from living composers Andrew Smith and Michael McGlynn; arrangements of Basque carols both rousing and tender by Alexander Craig and Sir David Willcocks; the haunting Huron Carol (1643), the first Christmas music written in North America; Thomas Tallis’s Audivi Vocem de Caelo; and folklorist John Jacob Niles’ poignant I Wonder As I Wander, based on an Appalachian song fragment collected in Murphy, North Carolina in 1933.
Andrew Smith: Veni Redemptor Gentium
Pérotin: Sederunt Principes
Pérotin/Worcester Fragments: Beata Viscera
Andrew Smith: Ave Maria/Noël nouvelet
Traditional Huron/Canadian, arr. Murray: Huron Carol
Traditional French, arr. Craig: Un Flambeau, Jeannette, Isabella
Thomas Byttering: Nesciens Mater
Thomas Tallis: Audivi Vocem de Caelo
Michael McGlynn: O Pia Virgo Mater
Traditional English, arr. Andrew Smith: Nowell : Out of Your Sleep
Traditional Basque, arr. Alexander Craig: The Angel Gabriel from Heaven Came
Traditional Basque, arr. Sir David Willcocks: Sing Lullaby
Traditional English, arr. Geoffrey Williams: Adam Lay YBounden
Traditional American, arr. Paul Manz: E’en So, Lord Jesus, Quickly Come
Traditional Appalachian/John Jacob Niles, arr. Geoffrey Williams: I Wonder As I Wander
Camille Saint-Saëns: Serenade d’hiver
Traditional, arr. Alexander Craig: The Darkest Midnight in December
“Unfailingly pure and ethereally beautiful.”