The Glory Of Polyphony

Episodes

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01Palestrina and Gesualdo20180603

Peter Phillips celebrates the wonder of the choral music of Palestrina and Gesualdo.

Six-part series presented by Peter Phillips on the peak period of polyphony in music.

Peter Phillips begins his six-part series celebrating the Glory of Polyphony.

Polyphony (literally, 'many sounds') reached its peak in choral music during the historic Renaissance period. Peter Phillips first discovered its magnificent sound world at the age of 16 and ever since has devoted his life to performing and recording it. He even formed his record label and choir -The Tallis Scholars - to share the music with others. In each programme in this series, Peter will share his knowledge of and passion for Renaissance choral music by exploring the lives and works of two very contrasting composers. He'll showcase their unique styles against the social backdrops of the late 15th to early 17th centuries by telling some of their personal stories and explaining the original purpose of the music. He'll also explore the music's meditative qualities and its power to affect worshippers and audiences past and present.

In this first programme, Peter will delve into the lives and music of two contrasting Italian composers: Giovanni da Palestrina and Carlo Gesualdo. Palestrina was arguably the most venerated composer of his generation and a "safe pair of hands" for the Vatican, whilst the anti-establishment prince Carlo Gesualdo's infamous personal darkness coloured his dissonant and dramatic music.

02Josquin And Isaac20180610

Peter Phillips delves into the lives and music of Josquin des Prez and Heinrich Isaac.

Six-part series presented by Peter Phillips on the peak period of polyphony in music.

Peter Phillips continues his six-part series celebrating the Glory of Polyphony.

Polyphony (literally, 'many sounds') reached its peak in choral music during the historic Renaissance period. Peter Phillips first discovered its magnificent sound world at the age of 16 and ever since has devoted his life to performing and recording it. He even formed his record label and choir -The Tallis Scholars - to share the music with others. In each programme in this series, Peter will share his knowledge of and passion for Renaissance choral music by exploring the lives and works of two very contrasting composers. He'll showcase their unique styles against the social backdrops of the late 15th to early 17th centuries by telling some of their personal stories and explaining the original purpose of the music. He'll also explore the music's meditative qualities and its power to affect worshippers and audiences past and present.

In this second programme, Peter will delve into the lives and music of two contemporary but contrasting Flemish composers: Josquin des Prez and Heinrich Isaac.

Flemish musicians were in great demand in the 15th and 16th Centuries, and many were brought across the Alps to Italy as young choristers and remained there their entire careers. What became known as the Franco-Flemish vocal style influenced the development of religious music across the whole of Europe.
Josquin was employed in Rome, Milan and Ferrara, and his fame spread far and wide - he was greatly admired by Martin Luther, who described Josquin's intimately crafted music as being "as free as the song of the finch".

The widely-travelled Isaac worked for three of Europe's most powerful families - the Habsburgs, the Estes and the Medicis. Full of pomp and ceremony, his music is vastly different to Josquin's; Isaac was the man for the great occasion. The two men once competed for the same job in Ferrara, but Isaac was thought to have been "of a better disposition among his companions and will compose new works more often.".

03Lassus And De Victoria20180617

Peter Phillips shares his love for the music of Orlando Lassus and Tomas Luis de Victoria.

Six-part series presented by Peter Phillips on the peak period of polyphony in music.

Peter Phillips continues his six-part series celebrating the Glory of Polyphony.

Polyphony (literally, 'many sounds') reached its peak in choral music during the historic Renaissance period. Peter Phillips first discovered its magnificent sound world at the age of 16 and ever since has devoted his life to performing and recording it. He even formed his record label and choir -The Tallis Scholars - to share the music with others. In each programme in this series, Peter will share his knowledge of and passion for Renaissance choral music by exploring the lives and works of two very contrasting composers. He'll showcase their unique styles against the social backdrops of the late 15th to early 17th centuries by telling some of their personal stories and explaining the original purpose of the music. He'll also explore the music's meditative qualities and its power to affect worshippers and audiences past and present.

In this third programme, Peter will delve into the lives and music of two contemporary but contrasting musicians: the Flemish singer and composer Orlando Lassus and the Spanish composer Tomas Luis de Victoria.

Victoria, the committed priest and darling of the Counter-Reformation in Spain wrote music of unparalleled religious intensity, with simple melodic lines and rhythmic variation. Lassus, on the other hand was another Flanders export, thought to have been kidnapped three times as a boy because of his extraordinary singing voice. A Humanist, widely travelled and enormously respected, Lassus' more experimental style included some pretty extreme chromaticism for the time.

04Tallis And Gombert20180624

Peter Phillips shares his love of the choral music of Thomas Tallis and Nicolas Gombert.

Six-part series presented by Peter Phillips on the peak period of polyphony in music.

Peter Phillips continues his six-part series celebrating the Glory of Polyphony.

Polyphony (literally, 'many sounds') reached its peak in choral music during the historic Renaissance period. Peter Phillips first discovered its magnificent sound world at the age of 16 and ever since has devoted his life to performing and recording it. He even formed his record label and choir -The Tallis Scholars - to share the music with others. In each programme in this series, Peter will share his knowledge of and passion for Renaissance choral music by exploring the lives and works of two very contrasting composers. He'll showcase their unique styles against the social backdrops of the late 15th to early 17th centuries by telling some of their personal stories and explaining the original purpose of the music. He'll also explore the music's meditative qualities and its power to affect worshippers and audiences past and present.

In this fourth programme, Peter will delve into the lives and works of two very contrasting musicians: Thomas Tallis and Nicolas Gombert

Both composers were forced to meet the demands of the church in the background of an ever-changing political world. The Reformation and Counter-Reformation affected almost their every musical move. In many ways their music is very similar - melodic, emotive and impassioned, but their lives were far from comparable. Gombert travelled through Europe with the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V until he was accused of sexual misconduct and sentenced to hard labour. Tallis spent almost his entire career in the service of four English monarchs, adapting his sacred music and the language in which it was written, every time there was a change on the throne.

05Byrd, Cornysh and the Eton Choirbook20180701

Peter Phillips delves into the music of Byrd, Cornysh and the Eton Choirbook.

Six-part series presented by Peter Phillips on the peak period of polyphony in music.

Peter Phillips continues his six-part series celebrating the Glory of Polyphony.

Polyphony (literally, 'many sounds') reached its peak in choral music during the historic Renaissance period. Peter Phillips first discovered its magnificent sound world at the age of 16 and ever since has devoted his life to performing and recording it. He even formed his record label and choir -The Tallis Scholars - to share the music with others. In each programme in this series, Peter will share his knowledge of and passion for Renaissance choral music by exploring the lives and works of two very contrasting composers. He'll showcase their unique styles against the social backdrops of the late 15th to early 17th centuries by telling some of their personal stories and explaining the original purpose of the music. He'll also explore the music's meditative qualities and its power to affect worshippers and audiences past and present.

In this fifth programme, Peter will delve into the lives and music of two English composers born a century apart.

In England, the florid style of composers like William Cornysh who contributed to the illuminated anthology of sacred music known as the Eton Choirbook at the turn of the 16th Century changed beyond recognition with the effects of the Reformation. In just under a century, the grandiose embellishments of the Italian style which had been so influential up to Henry VIII's split from Rome were replaced by something far more intimate.
William Byrd was a favourite of the Anglican Queen Elizabeth I, but because of Byrd's Catholic faith, his sacred music was largely published and performed in secret so as to avoid arrest by Her Majesty's teams of spies.

06Tomkins, Cardoso And The New World20180708

Peter Phillips shares his passion for the music of Thomas Tomkins and Manuel Cardoso.

Six-part series presented by Peter Phillips on the peak period of polyphony in music.

Peter Phillips brings his six-part series celebrating the Glory of Polyphony to a close.

Polyphony (literally, 'many sounds') reached its peak in choral music during the historic Renaissance period. Peter Phillips first discovered its magnificent sound world at the age of 16 and ever since has devoted his life to performing and recording it. He even formed his record label and choir -The Tallis Scholars - to share the music with others. In each programme in this series, Peter will share his knowledge of and passion for Renaissance choral music by exploring the lives and works of two very contrasting composers. He'll showcase their unique styles against the social backdrops of the late 15th to early 17th centuries by telling some of their personal stories and explaining the original purpose of the music. He'll also explore the music's meditative qualities and its power to affect worshippers and audiences past and present.

In this sixth and final programme, Peter will explore later developments on the peripheries of Europe and beyond, focusing on the music of Thomas Tomkins in England and Manuel Cardoso in Portugal. He'll also look at how composers such as Juan Gutierrez de Padilla took the Renaissance polyphonic tradition in Europe further afield to the new missions in Mexico and South America.

In England during the early 17th Century, Renaissance-style counterpoint was still key, and Welsh-born Tomkins served King and country with anthems and liturgical music until the outbreak of the English Civil War. In Portugal and the New World, composers reacted to the developments of Monteverdi and looked ahead to Baroque harmonic structures whilst clinging to the traditional choral framework. Manuel Cardoso was a loyal servant and friend to the musical King Joao IV, who helped him to publish most of his works, much of which were destroyed in the Lisbon earthquake of 1755.

06Tomkins, Cardoso and the New World20180708

Peter Phillips shares his passion for the music of Thomas Tomkins and Manuel Cardoso.

Six-part series presented by Peter Phillips on the peak period of polyphony in music.

Peter Phillips brings his six-part series celebrating the Glory of Polyphony to a close.

Polyphony (literally, 'many sounds') reached its peak in choral music during the historic Renaissance period. Peter Phillips first discovered its magnificent sound world at the age of 16 and ever since has devoted his life to performing and recording it. He even formed his record label and choir -The Tallis Scholars - to share the music with others. In each programme in this series, Peter will share his knowledge of and passion for Renaissance choral music by exploring the lives and works of two very contrasting composers. He'll showcase their unique styles against the social backdrops of the late 15th to early 17th centuries by telling some of their personal stories and explaining the original purpose of the music. He'll also explore the music's meditative qualities and its power to affect worshippers and audiences past and present.

In this sixth and final programme, Peter will explore later developments on the peripheries of Europe and beyond, focusing on the music of Thomas Tomkins in England and Manuel Cardoso in Portugal. He'll also look at how composers such as Juan Gutierrez de Padilla took the Renaissance polyphonic tradition in Europe further afield to the new missions in Mexico and South America.

In England during the early 17th Century, Renaissance-style counterpoint was still key, and Welsh-born Tomkins served King and country with anthems and liturgical music until the outbreak of the English Civil War. In Portugal and the New World, composers reacted to the developments of Monteverdi and looked ahead to Baroque harmonic structures whilst clinging to the traditional choral framework. Manuel Cardoso was a loyal servant and friend to the musical King Joao IV, who helped him to publish most of his works, much of which were destroyed in the Lisbon earthquake of 1755.