The Eton Choirbook at the crossroads of the Renaissance

Walter Lambe Nesciens mater
William, Monk of Stratford Magnificat
Richard Davy St Matthew Passion
John Browne Stabat mater a 6
Robert Wylkynson Jesus autem transiens

Ethereal interlocking harmonies from the turn of the 16th century sung standing around a beautiful facsimile of the Eton Choirbook.

Anna Fraser | Roberta Diamond | Bethany Hill | Janine Harris | Dan Walker | Owen Elsley | Christopher Watson* / Elias Wilson | Mark Donnelly | Andrew O’Connor | Antony Pitts

One of the greatest surviving glories of pre-Reformation England, The Eton Choirbook is a giant 500-year-old manuscript from the royal foundation at Eton College Chapel – a stone’s throw from Windsor Castle. This sequence of music from the Choirbook features a thrilling setting of the Magnificat, heartrending motets, the earliest polyphonic Passion by a named composer, and an extraordinary 13-part canon by the man in charge of the Choristers at Eton, Robert Wylkynson.

Treble Helix Unlocked continues a journey with significant implications for the future of early music in Australia - as in our previous explorations of the music of William Byrd (Byrd-Round-Table) and Guillaume de Machaut (True-Love-Story) with the support of Oxford University's Digital Image Archive of Medieval Music, our singers are performing from the original musical notation of the magnificent Eton Choirbook. Not only does this mean a different look and feel from a normal choral concert - we'll be standing around a central music stand, all reading from the same black and red dots - but it also means that we're getting as tightly as possible into the shoes of our musical ancestors who first performed this glorious polyphony in the Gothic acoustics of Eton College Chapel. Reading the music from the Choirbook is an enormous challenge for modern-day singers, but it opens the door into a world where the melodies and counter-melodies tell a new story together, and where the resonant chords and harmonies ring with a particular sense of community and purpose.
*Christopher Watson appears courtesy of Trinity College, Melbourne

Sat 9 Feb 3pm | Blackheath Uniting Church
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