Ora Singers - Re-imaginings
The award-winning ORA Singers presents a virtual concert pairing choral masterpieces from the Renaissance with specially commissioned reflections that re-imagine those great works. Relax and dive into the beauty of choral music that has inspired, and still inspires, across the centuries.
ORA Singers, directed by Suzi Digby
Filmed and Edited by Knight Classical at St. Peter’s Church, Vauxhall (London)
St Peter's Church, Vauxhall, London
St Peter’s Church is located in Kennington Lane on the edge of what was Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens. It was built in 1863-4 by the notable Victorian Gothic Revival architect, John Loughborough Pearson. Architecturally based on the ratios of the Golden Section, this church was designed to play on the harmony of proportion and the impression of awe by its height, being reminiscent of Romanesque style with French character. The series of tableaux of frescoes depict The Killing of Abel, Melchisedech the High Priest, The Last Supper, The Agony in the Garden, Christ Carrying the Cross, The Crucifixion, The Descent from the Cross, The Resurrection, and Christ’s appearance to the Apostles after the Resurrection. The long inscription above the wall paintings comes from the Vulgate, St Jerome’s Latin version of the Bible.
Artistic Director's Notes
Whenever I listen to ORA Singers I allow myself to simply wallow in their sound. I close my eyes and then the magic happens as hundreds of silken ribbons of sound enwrap me, sometimes almost dizzyingly, as they play off the glorious architecture. The exquisite purity of ORA, together with the concept of a second coming of the Golden Age could not fit better in the Three Palaces Festival programme: a festival that by its very own nature and setting, juxtaposes the new with the old. Contemporary work fuses with majestic intricate layers of Baroque architecture in its capital city, Valletta, or in the magical, walled, old “silent city” of Mdina, and all the extraordinary palaces, buildings, churches, bastions, temples, and “secret” places across the island. Malta is a gem. ORA is a jewel in sound. This programme re-imagines Renaissance works, marrying nationalities and sounds across time and eras. Videte miraculum indeed – the miracle of the beauty of sound will unfold with ORA.
-Dr Michelle Castelletti, Artistic Director, Three Palaces Festival
photo by Nick Rutter
In this virtual concert ORA Singers presents a selection of three pairs of choral works. Each pairing contains a Renaissance masterpiece followed by a specially commissioned reflection on that work, and each stands as a celebration of Renaissance music and of the strong culture of choral writing in our own age. We begin with Antoine Brumel’s stunning 15th century work, Sicut Lilium Inter Spinas (As the Lily is amongst the Thorns), described by John Barber as a ‘miniature gem’ and the basis for his contemporary setting of the same beautiful words. The second and third pairings showcase two of the greatest composers in English music: Thomas Tallis and his pupil, and later colleague, William Byrd. Tallis’ work Videte Miraculum is a tour de force that is suitably matched by Richard Allain’s similarly structured modern reflection. Finally we come to Byrd’s deceptively simple Ave Verum, a short and powerful tribute to the Virgin Mary. Roderick Williams takes the work as the starting point for a more complex, but still stunning, three choir piece; a fitting finale to the programme.
“the most mellifluous vocal group this side of Heaven…” The Times
Award-winning ORA Singers continues the centuries-long living tradition of choral singing in Britain. It is one of the world’s foremost commissioners of contemporary choral music, which it performs alongside Renaissance masterpieces in its celebrated concerts and recordings, seeking to bring new choral music to a wider audience.
It continues to blaze a trail as one of the UK’s leading vocal groups and lives up to its description as “a musical comet…you’ll go a long way to hear singing this good” (Independent on Sunday) in its touring programmes both in Europe and the USA. Directed by Suzi Digby OBE, the group was named Ensemble of the Year at the 2018 Opus Klassik awards, and has received much critical acclaim both for its “unfailingly elegant" (Financial Times) performances and its “superb and exciting” (American Record Guide) recordings.
"Addictive" - The Irish Times
photo by Nick Rutter
Suzi Digby was born in Japan and lived in Hong Kong, Mexico and the Philippines before settling in the UK. She is a leading choral conductor and music educator and has trail-blazed the revival of singing in schools and communities in the UK over three decades. In 2016 she founded ORA Singers to commission, record and perform choral works as 'reflections' of Renaissance masterpieces. Suzi has also founded the following U.K. national organisations: The Voices Foundation, the UK’s leading Primary Music charity; Vocal Futures, and the London Youth Choir.
Suzi has conducted many leading ensembles, including the London Mozart Players, The English Concert and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and is the official choral conductor for The Rolling Stones.
She is Visiting Professor at the University of Southern California, has received an honorary degree from the University of Aberdeen, and in 2007 was appointed OBE by the Queen for services to music education.
photo by Andreas Grieger
Antoine Brumel (c.1460 – 1512/13, French) - Sicut Lilium inter spinas 2’
John Barber (ORA commission) - Sicut Lilium 3’
Thomas Tallis (c.1505 – 1585, English) - Videte Miraculum 10’
Richard Allain (ORA commission) – Videte Miraculum 10’
William Byrd (1543 – 1623, English) – Ave Verum 3.5’
Roderick Williams (ORA commission) - Ave Verum, re-imagined 5.5'
photo by Nick Rutter
Disclaimer: All the necessary precautions to safeguard our artists and crew were taken during the filming of this project. 'ORA Singers - Re-Imaginings' is produced by Festivals Malta, in collaboration with Knight Classical. The Three Palaces Festival is sponsored by Kinnie, Hertz, MAPFRE MSV Life and the Ministry for National Heritage, The Arts and Local Government.