William Byrd, the Euro- skeptic: His dedication to English style and sensibility
William Byrd, the Euro- skeptic: His dedication to English style and sensibility, performed by Oliver Mercer, tenor, and Mark Williams, harpsichord and organ.
This recital explores Byrd's setting of texts in his songs, which Byrd scholar Philip Brett described as having "a strong attachment to a native idiom rooted in Tudor court culture" as opposed to popular Italian styles, and distinguish Byrd's music from other English composers such as Weelkes, Morley and, eventually, Dowland. The program includes elegies written for Mary, Queen of Scots, English-style consort songs in foreign languages, and song settings of poems by Sir Philip Sidney, including the joyful "My mind to me a kingdom is", and an elegy on the death of the poet " O that most rare breast."
About the performers:
Hailed by the New York Times as "excellent" and "particularly impressive", Oliver Mercer is quickly gaining recognition as one of New York's most exciting young voices in early music. The 2009/2010 season marked several solo debuts, including Alice Tully Hall under Kent Tritle with Musica Sacra, Houston's Wortham Center with Le Voix Baroque, 5 Boroughs Music Festival, and Handel's Messiah with Taghkanic Chorale under Steven Fox. Mercer also returned as featured soloist with the Sacred Music in a Sacred Space concert series, Saint Thomas Fifth Avenue and the Clarion Music Society. A highlight of 2010 has been Mercer's participation in multiple performances of Monteverdi's Vespro della beata Vergine. In the summer of 2009 Mercer participated in Glyndebourne Festival Opera's 75th season in their acclaimed production of Purcell's The Fairy Queen under the baton of William Christie. Other past engagements include Performances of Bach's St. John Passion in Korea and Japan with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Evangelist in Bach's Saint Matthew Passion at Saint Thomas Fifth Avenue and soloist in various Bach cantatas at the Oregon Bach Festival under Helmut Rilling.
Mark Williams took up the post of Director of Music at Jesus College Cambridge in September 2009. Described as 'the shooting star of the international organ scene' by the international press, he has appeared in the UK, Europe and America with many of the UK's leading ensembles, including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the City of London Sinfonia and the Gabrieli Consort and Players. He is the Principal Conductor of English Chamber Opera, the Organist in Residence at the annual International William Byrd Festival in Oregon, and has given solo recitals, appeared as harpsichordist and organist, and led masterclasses in choral training, singing and organ performance in the UK, the USA, Asia and Africa.
St. Stephen's Church
1112 S.E. 41st Avenue
Portland, OR 97214
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