A Renaissance Christmas

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A Renaissance Christmas- A Vocal Performance from Kansas City Chorale and Stile Antico

Thursday, December 9, 2021
Folly Theater

Stile Antico, scheduled for December 9, will now include an exciting partnership with the Kansas City Chorale and local actor Robert Brand at The Folly Theater! When our friends from Stile Antico were forced to cancel their 2021 tour, we commissioned them to record portions of the original program which will be interspersed with a LIVE PERFORMANCE by the KC Chorale.

Available with the Gold Subscription, Friends Folly Series,  and the Early Music Series.

A Renaissance Christmas: Concert Program

A Renaissance Christmas

Corde natus ex parentis (Piae Cantiones) chant

Part 1: The fall of man

Emilia Lanier –Eve’s Apologie in defence of women
Thomas Ravenscroft – Remember O thou man

Part 2: God promises blessings to His chosen people

Psalm 85 from the Sidney Psalter
William Byrd – Rorate caeli

Part 3: The prophet foretells the coming of the Saviour

George Herbert – The Flower
Michael Praetorius – Es ist ein Ros entsprungen

Part 4: The peace that Christ will bring is foreshown

George Herbert – Peace
Peter Phillips – Hodie nobis de caelo

Part 5: The Annunciation

John Donne – Annunciation
Josquin des Prez – Ave Maria

Part 6: The birth of Jesus

John Donne – Nativity
Hans Leo Hassler – Hodie Christus natus est

Part 7: The shepherds go to the manger

Henry Vaughan – The Shepherds
Rafaella Alleoti – Angelus ad Pastores ait

Part 8: The wise men are led by the star to Jesus

Lancelot Andrewes – Extract from ‘A Christmas Sermon
Francisco Guerrero – A un nino llorando

Part 9: The mystery of the Incarnation

Robert Southwell – The Burning Babe
John Sheppard – Verbum caro factum est

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Artist Biography: Kansas City Chorale

Since the debut performance in 1982, the Kansas City Chorale has provided audiences with a high caliber of choral artistry, performing a diverse repertoire of new and traditional music. Under Charles Bruffy’s leadership the choir has garnered international recognition for artistic merit, having been praised for its refined sound, phrasing and flawless intonation.

As a cornerstone of the Kansas City performing arts community, the Chorale creates concert programs and recordings that educate, engage, provoke, and inspire listeners. The Chorale’s ongoing outreach efforts facilitate the development of local talent, while providing students and their instructors with the opportunity to learn from world-class vocalists.

Beyond the traditional season of local concerts, Bruffy has brought the choir’s talent to the global stage. In 2009, Bruffy led the Kansas City and Phoenix Chorales in a moving performance at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. Highlights from the a cappella concert included “Canticum Calamitatis Maritimae” by Jaakko Mantyjarvi and “Drei Geistliche Gesänge” by 19th-century composer Josef Rheinberger.

The New York Times review noted that Bruffy “…seemed to be sculpturing in air: carefully molding each finely hued note he coaxed from his choristers,” and “the choirs performed with a buoyant pulse and energetic finesse.”  In the same year, the Kansas City Chorale was invited as one of four choral groups to perform at the prestigious Incheon Choral Festival in South Korea.

The Kansas City Chorale has an award-winning collection of albums with Chandos Records, Naxos Records, Nimbus Records, and 2Foals Records.  The Chorale’s album Life and Breath: Choral Works of René Clausen, won the GRAMMY® Award for Best Choral Performance and Best Engineered Album, Classical.  Additionally, SoundMirror senior producer Blanton Alspaugh won the GRAMMY® Award for Producer of the Year, Classical, for Life and Breath and Artifacts: The Music of Michael McGlynn.

Between 2007-2015, the Kansas City Chorale joined with the Phoenix Chorale for three albums including Rheinberger: Sacred Choral Works, which received 2 GRAMMY® nominations, Grechaninov: Passion Week, which won the GRAMMY® Award for Best Engineered Classical Album along with 5 nominations, and Rachmaninoff: All Night Vigil, which won the GRAMMY® Award for Best Choral Performance along with 3 nominations.

Artist Biography: Stile Antico

Stile Antico is firmly established as one of the world’s most accomplished and innovative vocal ensembles. Working without a conductor, its twelve members have thrilled audiences on four continents with their fresh, vibrant and moving performances of Renaissance polyphony. Its bestselling recordings on the Harmonia Mundi label have earned accolades including the Gramophone Award for Early Music, Diapason d’or de l’année, Edison Klassiek Award, and Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik. The group has received three Grammy® nominations, and performed live at the 60th Grammy® Awards at Madison Square Garden.

Based in London, Stile Antico has appeared at many of the world’s most prestigious venues and festivals. The group enjoys a particularly close association with the Wigmore Hall, and has performed at the BBC Proms, Buckingham Palace, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Palais des Beaux-Arts, Cité de la Musique, Luxembourg Philharmonie, and Leipzig Gewandhaus. Stile Antico is frequently invited to appear at Europe’s leading festivals: highlights include Antwerp, Bruges, Utrecht and York Early Music Festivals, the Lucerne Easter Festival and the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival

Since its 2009 North American debut at the Boston Early Music Festival, Stile Antico has enjoyed frequent tours to the US and Canada. The group performs regularly in Boston and New York, and has appeared at the Ravinia Festival, Washington’s National Cathedral and Library of Congress, Vancouver’s Chan Centre, and in concert series spanning twenty-five US states. Stile Antico has also appeared in Mexico and Colombia, and in 2018 visited East Asia for the first time, performing in Korea, Macau and Hong Kong.

Stile Antico’s performances are often praised for their immediacy, expressive commitment, and their sensitive and imaginative response to text. These qualities arise from the group’s collaborative working style: members rehearse and perform as chamber musicians, each contributing artistically to the musical results. The group is also noted for its compelling programming, which seeks to draw out thematic connections between works to shine new light on Renaissance music. In addition to its core repertoire, Stile Antico has premiered works by John McCabe, Huw Watkins, Nico Muhly, Giles Swayne, and Joanna Marsh. The group’s diverse range of collaborators includes Fretwork, the Folger Consort, Marino Formenti, B’Rock, Rihab Azar, and Sting.

Alongside its concert and recording work, Stile Antico is passionate about sharing its repertoire and working style with the widest possible audience, and its masterclasses and workshops are much in demand. As well as leading regular courses at the Dartington International Summer School, the group has been resident at Zenobia Música, and is often invited to work alongside ensembles at universities, festivals, and early music forums. The support of the charitable Stile Antico Foundation has enabled Stile Antico to expand its work in schools, to lead Youth Consort courses for students, and to offer bursaries to talented young professional singers and ensembles.

Highlights of Stile Antico’s 2019-20 season include a debut tour to Japan, three visits to the United States, and a series of UK performances of Songs of Exile and Longing, a project examining contemporary experiences of migration through the music of John Dowland. The group will also tour a programme marking the 400th anniversary of the voyage of the Mayflower. Stile Antico’s fourteenth recording for Harmonia Mundi, A Spanish Nativity, is released late in 2019.

Our Name

The term ‘stile antico’, pronounced STEE-lay an-TEE-co, literally means ‘old style’. It was coined during the seventeenth century to describe the style of Renaissance church composition epitomised by the music of Palestrina – polyphonic and imitative in texture, even in rhythm, strictly controlled in its use of dissonance – as opposed to the modern developments in the works of Monteverdi and his contemporaries. Over the centuries, the ‘stile antico’ came to be seen as an ideal of musical purity, and composers such as Beethoven, Schumann, Liszt and Bruckner studied it as part of their training. It is still taught in universities today.

Stile Antico’s repertoire focuses on the astonishingly rich legacy of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century polyphonic composition. It encompasses not only the music of Palestrina and his Italian, Flemish and Spanish contemporaries, but also the fascinating and diverse English school, from the dazzling complexity of the Eton Choirbook to the masterpieces of Taverner, Sheppard, Tallis and Byrd, and the Elizabethan madrigalists. Just as no single voice predominates in the polyphonic style, Stile Antico’s collaborative working method allows all its members to contribute artistically in crafting its performances. The results have been described as ‘wonderfully vivid’ – a direct, personal interpretative approach to the choral repertory, conveying both the beauty and the drama of the finest polyphonic music of the Renaissance.

Artist Performances: Stile Antico and Kansas City Chorale