In Celebration of the Human Voice - The Essential Musical Instrument
Nigel began his musical life as a chorister at Solihull Parish Church going on to study singing and piano at the Royal College of Music. He began his career as a soloist in opera and oratorio and as a member of specialist vocal ensembles such as The Tallis Scholars whilst maintaining a regular involvement in church music, firstly as a member of Westminster Abbey Choir then Westminster Cathedral. He joined the King's Singers when he was 27 and stayed with them for seven years.
After a short break of about one ski season in the Swiss Alps he set about founding his own group, Tenebrae, aiming to bring together what he loved best as a singer - namely the more passionate sounds of large Cathedral choirs and the precision of ensembles like The King's Singers - to create a new kind of choral group. Whilst embracing an eclectic repertoire he wanted to have some 'signature' works that would make Tenebrae different, adding a theatrical element that would involve singers moving around as if on stage. To that end he wrote 'The Dream of Herod', with a central role for baritone Colin Campbell, and commissioned Joby Talbot to write Path of Miracles, premiered in July 2005. Since its debut performance in 2001 Tenebrae has given concerts in Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Switzerland, UK, USA and Bermuda.
Nigel and the group have performed and recorded live with The Chamber Orchestra of Europe for Warner Classics and have given several performances with The English Concert. They record regularly with Signum Classics.
Nigel divides his time between directing Tenebrae and giving an ever increasing number of masterclasses and workshops for both professional and amateur vocal groups and choirs throughout Europe.
Displaying 1-10 of 10 items.
Review: Following a string of five-star reviews for their previous discs of 20th-century French choral music the professional chamber-choir Tenebrae go from strength to strength with this new recording of British partsongs and choral music - centered on Hubert Parry's Songs of Farewell. Composed towards the end of Parry's life, the Songs of Farewell have taken on something of an epithetical interpretation; they are almost a musical summation of his compositional life, reflecting Parry's love of English renaissance madrigals and partsongs as much as the influence on his work from German composers like Brahms - made more complicated as these works were composed as the country (and its music) fell out of favour at the start of the Great War. This disc also includes works by Tavener, Sullivan and Vaughn Williams.
Songlist: The Evening-Watch Op.43 No.1, A Good-Night, Take him, earth, for cherishing, Funeral Ikos, Songs of Farewell, My soul, there is a country, I know my soul hath power to know all things, Never weather-beaten sail, There is an old belief, At the round earth's imagined corners, Lord, let me know mine end, They are at rest, The Turtle Dove, The long day closes, Rest, Bring us, O Lord God
Review: The Dream of Herod traces an evolution from dark, brooding introspection to dawning effulgence. Torment and inner violence make way for the mystery of forgiveness and hope in a succession of six brief scenes. Herod, a ruthless, blood-stained king is condemned to restless reflection on the genocide he has inflicted on his own people. Uncertain whether he is lost in sleep or wakefulness, he witnesses a procession of figures that distil the essence of his branded conscience. Imprisoned by the horror of his deeds, he sees his pathway to release, illuminated by the very voices of those he most feared. "Tenebrae is a professional choir, established by former King's Singer Nigel Short to address the market for fine singing in fine buildings. Jacques Villeneuve and James Bowman are among the group's patrons, testimony to Short's networking powers. The conductor stresses the passion and precision generated by his singers and the enjoyment comes from the inspired repertoire selection. Plainsong smoothly covers the joints between works such as Peter Wishart's Alleluya, Hadley's I sing of a maiden and Short and Richard McDonald's effective The Dream of Herod."
Songlist: Alleluya, O Radix Jesse, A Spotless Rose , Rorate Coeli, Of The Father's Heart Begotten , Ave Maria , I Sing of a Maiden , Puer Natus Est Nobis, A Flower Given To My Daughter , Silent Night , Sussex Carol , Away in a Manger , Adeste Fideles, O Come All Ye Faithful, The Dream of Herod:, Herod's Despair, The Visit of the Magi, The Chorus of the Voiceless Infants, The Chorus of the Parents of Judaea, Mary and Joseph Appear to Herod, Jesus Appears to Herod
Review: Francis Poulenc is now considered to be among the most important composers of choral music of the 20th Century. Yet his early career reveals no trace of the dazzling and idiosyncratic unaccompanied choral textures so abundantly produced in the second half of his life. This new collection of Poulencās choral works is centered on his masterwork, the Figure Humaine. Even though it is only 20 minutes in length, the work is a supreme test of stamina, technical agility, range, aural skill and musicianship. The professional chamber choir Tenebrae (directed by former Kingās Singer Nigel Short) are more than capable of tackling this repertoire, and this disc promises to provide a new benchmark in interpretations of the work.
Songlist: Mass in G, Mass in G (part 2), Mass in G (part 3), Mass in G (part 4), Mass in G (part 5), Litanies a la Veirge Noire, Salve Regina, Un soir de neige, Figure Humaine, Quatre petites prieres de Saint Francois d'Assise
Review: This release takes its title from a new work written especially for the choir by Sir John Tavener. Mother and Child has a unique and personal history inspired- by one of the Tenebrae members' children. Playing in the garden, Samual McCosh and his mother Susan caught the eye of a visiting friend, poet Brian Keeble. The picture of mother and child in close union with one another so enchanted him that he began to write a poem based on that image. The resulting poem caught the attention of Sir John Tavener who, on reading it decided to set it to music and to dedicate it to Tenebrae. In its short existence, Tenebrae has made a considerable impact on the musical world with fresh and vital re-interpretations of classic works in the choral repertoire. On this recording, innovatory and lesser-known repertoire is drawn from contemporary sources. Alongside Mother and Child, this release features four further world-premiere recordings by composers Francis Pott, Alexander L'Estrange and Jeremy Filsell. Within this individual collection of choral music, which also includes works by Jonathan Dove, Richard Rodney Bennett and Giles Swayne, Tenebrae continues to chart out a new territory, which is rapidly establishing it as one of the most exciting choirs of our time.
Songlist: Seek him that maketh the seven stars, The souls of the righteous, Magnificat, Mother and Child, Lute-book lullaby, O be joyful in the Lord, The seasons of his mercies, My song is love unknown
Review: Path of Miracles, for a cappella choir, was commissioned by Tenebrae from Joby Talbot and premiered last year. The work is based on the most enduring route of Catholic pilgrimage - the great Pilgramage to Santiago. The four movements of Path of Miracles are titled with the names of the four main staging posts of the 'Camino Frances': I Roncesvalles; II Burgos; III Leon; IV Santiago. The 'Camino Frances' s the central axis of a network of pilgrimage routes to Santiago. Talbot's music has been performed by, amongst others, the London Sinfonietta, The BBC Symphony Orchestra, The Brunel Ensemble, Evelyn Glennie and The Duke Quartet. In addition, Talbot also writes for the big and small screen. Credits include, The League of Gentlemen and The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy.Tenebrae, founded and directed by former King's Singer Nigel Short, is a professional vocal ensemble, whose motto is passion and precision. Tenebrae has built an impressive reputation for innovative and memorable performances throughout the UK and Europe.
Songlist: Roncesvalles, Burgos, Leon, Santiago
Review: The sublime new album from the star composer of the Royal Wedding. Performed by the Tenebrae Choir and also features the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra the album includes the moving A Spotless Rose and Ubi Caritas, performed at the Royal Wedding. "Paul Mealor has a deep connection with our choral heritage yet his works have immediacy and modernity. He has the rare gift of being able to create joyous melody within music that is both sincere and profound. This is an album with hints of Celtic mystery, moments of great solemnity, splendiferous singing and above all sumptuous tunes." - Gareth Malone - Choir Master and BAFTA Award-winning BBC Presenter of The Choir
Songlist: Now Sleeps The Crimson Petal, Lady, When I Behold The Roses Sprouting, Upon A Bank, A Spotless Rose, She Walks In Beauty, O Vos Omnes, Stabat Mater, Salvator Mundi: Greater Love, Locus Iste, Ave Maria, Ubi Caritas
Review: Prayers for Mankind celebrates the life and writings of Father Alexander Men, a Russian Orthodox Christian priest who, whilst being little known outside of his home country during his lifetime, has come to be hailed as a saint and martyr by thousands all over the world. 2010 marks the anniversary of what would have been his 85th Birthday, as well as 20 years since his brutal assassination on the way to a Sunday morning service. Following years of religious suppression under the communist regime, Father Alexander Men emerged as a leading Christian and humanitarian figure in Russia, through radio and TV broadcasts and his prolific written works. These prayers, set by Russian composer Alexander Levine, capture the beauty and humanity of Men's view of the world, and is brought vividly to life by Nigel Short's professional chamber choir Tenebrae.
Songlist: Morning Prayer, A Prayer for Unity, A Prayer for Humanity, I Love You, Lord, A Prayer for the Gift of Wisdom and Love, A Prayer for the Disciples of Christ
Review: The roots of the Russian Orthodox Church are traceable back into the Third Century A.D. Whilst Western forms of Christianity continued to evolve, the Orthodox tradition has been preserved largely intact since the 11th Century, despite persecution of the Church under an intolerant Communist regime in Russia. The music of the Russian Orthodox Church features vocal chants, the oldest of which is known as znamenny (from the Slavonic znamia meaning "sign"). The melody of this chant is extremely simple, and whilst other composers added their characteristic harmonic effects, Rachmaninoff consciously preserved the modal purity of the original in his setting of the Vespers. The all-night vigil is celebrated on the eve of the main feasts of the Orthodox Church. Originally it lasted all night and consisted of three separate services to celebrate the beauty of the setting sun, and to reflect on the spiritual light of Christ as the new light of the coming day and the eternal light of heaven. Rachmaninoff's setting of the vigil was written in 1915, in the middle of the First World War. He has used authentic znamenny chant in seven movements, with two movements employing Greek chants. "Even in my dreams I could not have imagined that I would write such a work" Rachmaninoff told the singers at the first performance in March 1915. The work is dedicated to the scholar Stephan Vasilevitch Smolensky who introduced Rachmaninoff to the repertoire of the church, however the composer's inspiration was as much politically motivated as spiritually - the composition was a powerful affirmation of nationalism during the war.
Songlist: Come, Let us Worship, Bless the Lord, O My Soul, Blessed Is The Man, Gladsome Light, Lord, Now Lettest Thou, Rejoice O Virgin, The Six Psalms, Praise the Name of the lord, Blessed Art Thou O Lord, Having Beheld the Resurrection of Christ, My Soul, Magnifies the Lord, The Great Doxology, Today Salvation has Come, Tho Didst Rise From the Town, To Thee, the Victorious leader, We Praise Thee
Review: Tomas Luis de Victoria s requiem mass for six voices, written in 1603 and published in 1605, is a masterpiece. It is one of a handful of large-scale works which enjoys mainstream appeal in the 21st century. For many, it represents what Renaaissance polyphony is, what it sounds and feels like, and how expressive it can be. The disc also features two well-known works by Victoria s contemporary Alonso Lobo. The performance comes from the renowned professional chamber choir Tenebra, led by Nigel Short, following their recent BBC Music Magazine nominated recording of Francis Poulen s Figure Humaine.
Songlist: Lesson: Taedet anima mea, Introit: Requiem aeternam , Kyrie, Gradual: Requiem aeternam, Offertory: Domine, Jesu Christe, Sanctus & Benedictus, Agnus Dei, Communion: Lux aeterna, Motet: Versa est in luctum, Responsory: Libera me, Domine, Lamentations Ieremiae Prophetae
Review: Tenebrae is a professional chamber choir, founded and directed by Nigel Short in 2001. Often performing by candlelight, the choir creates an atmosphere of spiritual and musical reflection, where medieval chant and renaissance works are interspersed with contemporary compositions. The carefully selected team of singers use the acoustic and atmosphere of the building to enable the audience to experience the power and intimacy of the human voice.
Songlist: Jingle Bells , Silent Night, What Sweeter Music?, A Spotless Rose, Quem Pastores?, Veni, veni, There Is A Flower, Alleluia, The Lamb, I Wonder as I Wander, Quelle est cette odeur agreable?, We Wish You a Merry Christmas, The Oxen, Gaudete, Away in a Manger, Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day, Nativity Carol, The Twelve Days of Christmas
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