Manchester Renaissance Choir
Wed 10 July, 19:30


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Manchester Renaissance Choir

Director Rory Wainwright Johnston

A choral feast of music from this innovative group centres around the themes of rest, sleep and dreams, in both the literal and spiritual senses. Alongside this is a focus on the music of William Byrd, a giant of the Golden Age of English music.

The concert will also feature a selection of newer items: the second outing of Pulse for Pulse by composer Carmel Smickersgill, which was commissioned by MRE in September 2018; and the first performance of Rory Johnston’s Re-imagining of the “Third Tune” (Why fum’th in fight/To mock your reign, O Dearest Lord) from Tallis’ Nine Psalm Tunes – the melody used by Vaughan Williams in his Fantasia, to be heard at the Festival Finale.

Rests sweet nymphs – Frances Pilkington
Let not the sluggish sleep – William Byrd
Kyrie and Gloria (from Mass for Four Voices) – William Byrd
Pulse for Pulse – Carmel Smickersgill
Rest – Ralph Vaughan Williams
Tu pauperum refugium – Josquin des Prez
Never weather-beaten saile – Thomas Campion
I laid me down – William Byrd
Sleep – Eric Whitacre


Why fum’th in fight – Thomas Tallis
Re-imagining of the “Third Tune” – Rory Wainwright Johnston (premiere performance)
Retire my soul – William Byrd
Come heavy sleep – John Dowland
Ave verum corpus – William Byrd
A Good Night – Richard Rodney Bennett
Requiem II Plainchant
Sanctus (from Mass for Four Voices) – William Byrd
A Dream – Howard Skempton
Agnus Dei (from Mass for Four Voices) – William Byrd
In Paradisum Plainchant
Vigilate – William Byrd

Manchester Renaissance Ensemble is a progressive collection of young professional singers and instrumentalists based in the North West. Known for their interesting programming, MRE strive to reimagine and re-contextualise the often-forgotten gems of the Renaissance. As firm believers in contemporary music, the ensemble is committed to commissioning new pieces for every concert, supporting emerging composers from the North West, many of whom studied at either the University of Manchester or the RNCM. Previous projects have included: Cantos Funebre – Choral music for All Souls Day from 17th century Portugal, featuring commissions by Dominic Skingle and Aine Mallon and The Remedy of Fortune – A reflection on the music of Guillaume Machaut, with commissions by James Keirle, Pierre Flasse and Aidan Maier. The Ensemble also has a self-published EP recording entitled Lux et tenebr√¶ – or Light and Darkness – which explores the themes of glory, beauty, penitence and sorrow with two stunning motets by Pedro de Cristo and Robert Fayrfax, alongside a new commission from the extraordinarily talented Grace-Evangeline Mason and one by the Ensemble’s director Rory Wainwright Johnston. The EP was subsequently performed in full at the Not Quite Light festival in Salford in 2018.



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