Sacred and Profane | The Sixteen

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Sacred and Profane album cover showing detail from Hieronymus Bosch's 15th Century painting, 'The Garden of Earthly Delights'

Sacred and Profane. Album by The Sixteen



Album Description

The Choral Pilgrimage 2018 CD

William Cornysh and Benjamin Britten were prolific writers of both sacred and secular music. Cornysh is actually two people, quite possibly father and son. Both were court musicians who excelled at writing complex and adventurous antiphons for the church, as well as beautiful secular songs for the courts of Henry VII and Henry VIII. As far as who wrote what is concerned, the truth may never be known and so here they are linked as one. Britten is celebrated for his ability to mix sacred and secular expertly in order to showcase the voice in all its multifaceted glory. A perfect example of this is Sacred and Profane, where he gives us a fascinating mixture of the devotional and the rumbustiously secular. The final song ‘A death’ is a wicked blend of horror and gallows humour far removed from the melancholic canon Ah, Robin, gentle Robin by Cornysh.


The Sixteen
Harry Christophers


'Harry Christophers makes an ingenious selection from the vast body of Britten's choral music [and] sculpts a wonderfully fluid performance of the Hymn to St. CeciliaThe Telegraph (on the Choral Pilgrimage concert at Christ Cathedral, Oxford, 25 May 2018)

'[Britten's Sacred and Profane is] a huge challenge, but one met with serene accomplishment by Harry Christophers and his elite choristers.' The Guardian (on the Choral Pilgrimage concert at St James, Spanish Place, 11 September 2018) 

Behind-the-Scenes Video

Track Listing:

Benjamin Britten
1. A Hymn to the Virgin

William Cornysh
2. My love she mourn'th

3. Hymn to Saint Cecilia

4. Salve Regina

5. Advance Democracy

6. Ave Maria, Mater Dei
7. Woefully array'd
8. Ah, Robin, gentle Robin

Sacred and Profane
9. St Godric's Hymn
10. I mon waxe wod
11. Lenten is come
12. The long night
13. Yif ic of luve can
14. Carol
15. Ye that pasen by
16. A death

Total running time:  66.44




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