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Press Release


The Boston Early Music Festival presents two programs of holiday music this December in Harvard Square – The Tallis Scholars on December 7 and Ensemble Correspondances on December 15.

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The Tallis Scholars – A Renaissance Christmas: Music of Palestrina, Byrd, and more

ARTIST: The Tallis Scholars (United Kingdom)
Peter Phillips, director

Amy Haworth, Emma Walshe, Emily Atkinson, & Charlotte Ashley, soprano
Caroline Trevor & Helen Charlston, alto
Steven Harrold & Simon Wall, tenor
Tim Scott Whiteley & Rob Macdonald, bass
WHEN: Friday, December 7, 2018 at 8pm
St. Paul Church, Bow & Arrow Streets, Cambridge, MA
PROGRAM:  A Renaissance Christmas: Music of Palestrina, Byrd, and more

Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina: Hodie Christus natus est
Palestrina: Missa Hodie Christus natus est
Nico Muhly: New work – world premiere on December 1, 2018 in New York
John Nesbett: Magnificat
William Byrd: Lullaby
Hieronymus Praetorius: Magnificat V
TICKETS: Tickets are priced at $25, $45, $55, and $75 each, and can be purchased at and 617-661-1812; a $5 discount for students, seniors, and groups is available by calling 617-661-1812. Subscription discounts are available with the purchase of three or more programs on the 2018-2019 Season.

Start off the holiday season in high style with a glorious program from director Peter Phillips and The Tallis Scholars. After thousands of concerts across the globe, these legendary voices have established themselves as one of Early Music’s truly essential ensembles with performances of unparalleled clarity that illuminate the beauty of Renaissance polyphony. Selections include Palestrina’s celebratory motet Hodie Christus natus est and his Christmas Mass based on it, sublime settings of the Magnificat by John Nesbett and Hieronymus Praetorius, Byrd’s beloved Lullaby, and a newly commissioned work for The Tallis Scholars by New England composer Nico Muhly.

Palestrina’s Hodie Christus natus est embodies the joy of the faithful at the birth of the Christ child, in a two-choir setting that allows for a wealth of textural possibilities. The exuberance breaks out of the sacred bounds of the traditional text with exclamations of ‘noe!’, a word related to ‘noel’ that appears in many Medieval carols. The wealth of musical ideas forms the basis for a parody mass in the same double-choir format, picking up and reworking motivic, melodic, and textural ideas from the motet. The Tallis Scholars present Praetorius’s lavish Magnificant with the German Lutheran custom of interpolated carols for Christmas Day, continuing a holiday tradition of enthusiasm and joy beyond any Latin formality.

There will be a Pre-Concert Talk at 7pm with Tallis Scholars director Peter Phillips and Suzannah Clark, Professor of Music at Harvard University.

The Tallis Scholars were founded in 1973 by director Peter Phillips. Through their recordings and concert performances, they have established themselves as the leading exponents of Renaissance sacred music throughout the world. Peter Phillips has worked with the ensemble to create the purity and clarity of sound which he feels best serve the Renaissance repertoire, allowing every detail of the musical lines to be heard. It is the resulting beauty of sound for which The Tallis Scholars have become so widely renowned. The Tallis Scholars perform in both sacred and secular venues, usually giving around 70 concerts each year across the globe. On 21st September 2015 the group gave their 2000th concert at St John’s Smith Square in London. Recordings by The Tallis Scholars have attracted many awards, and were nominated for a Grammy Award in 2001, 2009 and 2010. The latest recording of Josquin masses, Missa Gaudeamus and Missa L’ami Baudichon, was released in November 2018.

Peter Phillips has dedicated his career to the research and performance of Renaissance polyphony, and to the perfecting of choral sound. He founded The Tallis Scholars in 1973, with whom he has now appeared in over 2,200 concerts and made over 60 discs, encouraging interest in polyphony all over the world. Peter Phillips also conducts other specialist ensembles, including the BBC Singers, the Netherlands Chamber Choir, the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and the Choeur de Chambre de Namur. In 2014 he launched the London International A Cappella Choir Competition in St John's Smith Square, attracting choirs from all over the world. His first book, English Sacred Music 1549-1649, was published by Gimell in 1991, while his second, What We Really Do, appeared in 2013. During 2018, BBC Radio 3 will broadcast his view of Renaissance polyphony in a series of six hour-long programs.

Ensemble Correspondances – Pastorale de Noël: Christmas Motets and Advent Antiphons

ARTIST: Ensemble Correspondances (France)
Sébastien Daucé, conductor

Caroline Dangin Bardot & Caroline Weynants, soprano; Lucile Richardot, mezzo-soprano; Davy Cornillot & David Tricou, tenor; Etienne Bazola, baritone; Nicolas Brooymans, bass; Béatrice Linon & Simon Pierre, violin; Mathilde Vialle, viol; Hager Hanana, double bass; Matthieu Bertaud & Lucile Perret, flute; Thibaut Roussel, theorbo; Sébastien Daucé, organ, harpsichord, and direction
WHEN: Saturday, December 15, 2018 at 8pm
St. Paul Church, Bow & Arrow Streets, Cambridge, MA
PROGRAM:  Pastorale de Noël: Christmas Motets and Advent Antiphons

Marc-Antoine Charpentier: O Salutaris
Charpentier: O Sapientia
Charpentier: O Adonai
Charpentier: O Radix Jesse
Charpentier: Or nous dites Marie
Charpentier: O Clavis David
Charpentier: O Oriens
Traditional: Or nous dites Marie
Charpentier: O Rex Gentium
Charpentier: O Emmanuel
Charpentier: In nativitatem H.414
Charpentier: Pastorale H.483
TICKETS: Tickets are priced at $20, $39, $51, and $70 each, and can be purchased at and 617-661-1812; a $5 discount for students, seniors, and groups is available by calling 617-661-1812. Subscription discounts are available with the purchase of three or more programs on the 2018-2019 Season.

The holiday festivities continue with a sumptuous evening of music for the Christmas season by Marc-Antoine Charpentier. Sébastien Daucé and Ensemble Correspondances have immersed themselves in Charpentier’s music, producing uniquely intimate and passionate interpretations that have won them acclaim the world over. Following a spectacularly well-received appearance at our June 2017 Festival, these outstanding singers and instrumentalists make their BEMF concert series début exploring Charpentier’s vividly rendered “pastorals” depicting the shepherds at the nativity, which the composer wrote for his longtime patron Marie de Lorraine, Duchesse de Guise, alongside a selection of expressive antiphons written for the Advent season.

“Charpentier’s inspiration is equal to the poetry of the texts: in both we find the same delicacy, but also outbursts of mystical ecstasy, woven together with a sensibility very much out of the ordinary.” - Sébastien Daucé

Artistic patronage had long been a tradition in the de Guise family, and the Duchess recruited a pool of exceptional talent. While the Royal Court and its imitators expected artists to work to the desires of the powerful, Mademoiselle de Guise allowed Charpentier free rein for musical experimentation and innovation. The pastorale was rarely used to evoke the nativity, but with the loss of Marie’s young son, the infant Christ came to occupy an important place in the family’s devotions. The Pastorale sur la naissance de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ emerged from this context, with the traditional shepherds moving beyond their common pleasantry to anticipate the coming savior. The brief gems that are the antiphons for Advent – the period leading up to Christmas – focus this sense of expectation and yearning.

There will be a Pre-Concert Talk at 7pm with Ensemble Correspondances conductor Sébastien Daucé.

Ensemble Correspondances presents mainly French sacred music of the 17th-century, an era which produced a considerable number of masterpieces, many still unpublished. Artistic director Sébastien Daucé and his musicians met while studying at the Conservatoire in Lyon. A dedicated collaboration blossomed to unearth rare and neglected musical treasures, revealing a whole range of emotions within these works. Since its formation in 2009, the ensemble has performed in France, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Japan, and South-America. Highlights of the current season include the Festival d’Ambronay, Festival de la Chaise-Dieu, MA Festival Bruges, Auditorium du Louvre, Opéra Royal de Versailles, Wigmore Hall. The Caisse des Dépôts and Mécénat Musical Société Générale are Correspondances’ main sponsors. The ensemble is also supported by the Ministry of Culture (DRAC Rhône-Alpes), the Rhône-Alpes Region, the city of Lyon. The ensemble is in residency at the Early music center of Ambronay and the Opera House of Caen.

Sébastien Daucé seeks to revive the little-known, though abundant, 17th-century French repertoire, both sacred and secular. In 2008, he founded Ensemble Correspondances to help further these aims. With the ensemble, which he directs from the keyboard, he travels throughout France and the world, performing at prestigious festivals and for radio. As a continuo player, he played under the direction of Gabriel Garrido (Ensemble Elyma, Ambronay Baroque Academy), Raphaël Pichon (Ensemble Pygmalion), Françoise Lasserre (Akademia), Geoffroy Jourdain (les Cris de Paris), Harmut Henschen, Miko Franck (Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France). Alongside his performing career, he teaches at the Pôle Supérieur of Paris-Boulogne-Billancourt. He also conducts research, and released three of Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s operas in collaboration with William Christie.

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BEMF’s 2018–2019 Season Press Release:

Recognized as the preeminent early music presenter and Baroque opera producer in North America, the Boston Early Music Festival (BEMF) has been credited with securing Boston’s reputation as “America’s early music capital” (The Boston Globe). Founded in 1981, BEMF offers diverse programs and activities, including one GRAMMY Award-winning and four GRAMMY Award-nominated opera recordings, an annual concert series that brings early music’s brightest stars to the Boston and New York concert stages, and a biennial week-long Festival and Exhibition recognized as the “world’s leading festival of early music” (The Times, London). The 20th Boston Early Music Festival will take place from June 9–16, 2019, and feature the fully staged North American premiere of Agostino Steffani’s Orlando as the Centerpiece Opera. BEMF’s Artistic Leadership includes Artistic Directors Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs, Opera Director Gilbert Blin, Orchestra Director Robert Mealy, and Dance Director Melinda Sullivan.

The 2018-2019 Boston Early Music Festival Concert Series is presented with support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, National Endowment for the Arts, WGBH Radio Boston, and Harpsichord Clearing House, as well as a number of generous foundations and individuals from around the world.

For more information, images, press tickets, or to schedule an interview, please contact Kathleen Fay at 617-661-1812 or email