Our 17th Choral Pilgrimage tour contrasts the music of the ‘Prince of polyphony’ Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina with the great 20th-century melodist Francis Poulenc.
“For the Choral Pilgrimage 2017, I will be exploring the legacy of two composers, whose work, for me, represents the very pinnacle of sacred music – Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina and Francis Poulenc. Both honest composers, they never try to appear other than they are. Palestrina is the master craftsman whose work composers from all ages have attempted to emulate, while Poulenc’s music always bears a human face and he himself felt he put his best and most authentic side into his choral writing.” – Harry Christophers
Based around the themes of conflict and atonement, Palestrina’s mass centring on the famous L’Homme Arme tune was immensely popular in the 16th century and its warlike nature serves as a timely reminder of the savagery of conflict, something which deeply affected Poulenc. Poulenc’s Un soir de neige, composed in December 1944, reflects both the inner feeling of peace generated by Christmas and the bleak solitude of another winter of occupation in France.
Poulenc – Salve Regina Palestrina – ‘Surge amica mea’ and ‘Surgam et circuibo civitatem’ from Song of Songs Palestrina – Parce mihi, Domine Poulenc – Quatre motets pour un temps de penitence Palestrina – Peccantem me quotidie Palestrina – ‘Kyrie’, ‘Gloria’ and ‘Credo’ from Missa L’Homme Arme Poulenc – Un Soir de neige Palestrina – Salve Regina Poulenc – ‘Agnus Dei’ from Mass in G