Home     Artists     Contact
 
 
 

Back to artist

 
Reviews THE SIXTEEN
 

Pizzicato.lu 2/03/2019 : Graziös und lichtvoll – CD Händel: Acis and Galatea
Christophers legt eine lichtvoll leichte Aufnahme vor, in der die liebliche Musik mit der harschen Rhythmik in der Darstellung des Riesen kontrastiert. Unter Christophers Leitung musizieren die Instrumentalisten absolut hinreißend, und der Chor ist nicht weniger begeisternd….
…This is an absolutely charming and luminous recording of Handel’s Acis and Galatea. Fine instrumental playing, gorgeous choir singing match the quality of a good cast of soloists. Remy Franck - Article

The Arts Desk.com 13/02/2019: Monteverdi Vespers – majesty on a modest scale - Well-established team brings a passion for clarity and colour
The Monteverdi Vespers are usually a grand affair, but Harry Christophers showed they can work just as well on a smaller scale.
Christophers always adds spectacle. …, he was free to wander around the front of the stage, leaning deeply into the continuo section, or waltzing across to some distant instrumental soloist, to offer their cue in person…. His extravagant arm gestures are usually about articulation and phrasing in the choral writing, and the sheer impact of the tutti numbers is always aided by the crisp, precise consonants he draws from the singers.
The Orchestra of The Sixteen …. given lightness and grace by the pair of recorders. In fact, for most of the work, the chorus or vocal soloists are accompanied just by continuo and this group was solid throughout, a stable bass over which Monteverdi’s elaborate melodies could flourish.
The vocal soloists were all drawn from the ranks of The Sixteen, which contributed to the feeling of an ensemble performance, all about close communication between the players and with little bravura from the soloists. The exception, of course, is Christophers himself, whose personality was all over this performance – his passion for clarity and colour, his sometimes angular but never harsh take on period performance conventions. And it all comes together in the grand choral numbers, the final Magnificat in particular a spectacular showcase for the ensemble’s talents – the focussed tone and cleanly articulated singing, suitably majestic, even at this modest scale. Gavin Dixon - Article

Scotsman.com 5/02/2019: CD Handel: Acis and Galatea
Youthful zeal and translucent intimacy inform every page of Handel’s pastoral entertainment, Acis and Galatea, as they do this airborne performance by the skeleton cast of The Sixteen under director Harry Christophers. … With only five singers and nine instrumentalists, and lightness of rhythmic step, Christophers gives the narrative a freedom that is fresh and teasing on the ear and uplifting in every sense. There is complete symbiosis between the characterful soloists, the rich and seamless continuo, and those tantalisingly whimsical instrumental obligatos that give scintillating illumination to such famous arias as “O Ruddier than the Cherry.”  Ken Walton - Article

Bachtrack 27/10/2018: The Sixteen's Round-Britten Choral Pilgrimage reaches Durham
...The Sixteen were, as ever, all polished perfection, but also sensitive to all the shifting colours and interesting detail in the music,… … The Sixteen opened with the simple radiance of A Hymn to the Virgin, written when Britten was just 16, and ended with Sacred and Profane one of Britten’s last works. A Hymn to the Virgin was sung with unfussy purity, and spacious silences, building to a lovely festive and celebratory mood in the last verse. … The Sixteen danced brightly through the pastoral texts; Lenten is Come and Carol were both sweetly sensuous and playful, …The Sixteen brought out all the black humour in Britten’s music, laughing in the face of death and ending with defiance.
…It was an extraordinary and moving performance that lifted the piece to a whole new level of drama and musicality that few choirs can manage to achieve.  Jane Shuttleworth - Article

The Guardian 16/09/2018 : The week in classical: The Sixteen – autumnal balm
Salve Regina and Ave Maria we heard sung with clarity and grace by this exceptional choir, while Cornysh Jr set more earthy English texts, often startling in their directness. Woefully array’d, for instance, has Christ addressing the crowd from the cross in poetry of disarming simplicity, powerfully expressed in a moving performance of great beauty.
Britten had a special affection for similar early English texts. His Sacred and Profane, which sets eight hugely varied medieval fragments, …It’s a huge challenge, but one met with serene accomplishment by Harry Christophers and his elite choristers. But the highlight of the evening was their reading of Britten’s setting of Auden’s Hymn to Saint Cecilia, subtly coloured and carefully measured in its dynamic range. The breakneck central verse “I cannot grow” – a danger zone for lesser choirs – was supremely deft and light as air. The Sixteen’s pilgrimage now moves on through the Midlands and the north. Catch it if you can. You won’t be disappointed. Stephen Pritchard – Review in full

Stretto 23/05/2018: “Royal Welcome Songs” door “The Sixteen” o.l.v. Harry Christophers op het label CORO. Niet te missen!
Met deze cd vervolgen “The Sixteen” en Harry Christophers hun onderzoek van de muziek die Purcell componeerde voor het koninklijk hof. Op de cd staan 21 Songs, waaronder twee “Welcome Songs”, “Welcome, Vicegerent of the mighty King” en “Fly, bold rebellion” voor Koning Charles II. Subliem.
…De unieke klankwereld van The Sixteen, rijk aan klankvariëteit en expressieve nuance, weerspiegelt de vastberadenheid van Christophers om een levendig koor te creëren uit de mix van volwassen professionele zangers. …Of het nu gaat om het uitvoeren van een eenvoudige, eenstemmige, middeleeuwse hymne of het uitdrukken van de complexe muzikale en emotionele taal van hedendaagse koormuziek, “The Sixteen” doet dat met de kwaliteiten die alleen de beste ensembles hebben, warmte, ritmische precisie en een onberispelijke intonatie.“The Sixteen” gaven hun eerste concert in 1979 onder leiding van oprichter en dirigent Harry Christophers CBE. Hun pionierswerk heeft sindsdien een grote invloed gehad op de uitvoering van koormuziek en trok een groot nieuw publiek aan. Superieur! Niet te missen!  Michel Dutrieu - Volledig artikel

The Guardian 18/12/2017 : The Sixteen at Christmas – Festive treats served with finesse
4/5stars4 out of 5 stars.
…Harry Christophers and his choir wove familiar Christmas favourites, brand-new carols and challenging earlier works into a seamless and convincing whole. ... Christophers has the knack of making such disparate items into a seamless, convincing whole; you almost take for granted the technical adroitness and finesse of every performance, but it shouldn’t ever be underrated either.  Andrew Clements - Review in full

Opus KLassiek September 2017 CD An American Collection
… Wat opvalt aan dit koorrecital is de uitgekiende combinatie van repertoirekeuze en programmavolgorde. …The Sixteen overschrijden dikwijls het aantal van zestien vocalisten, maar hier blijven ze met achttien aardig in de buurt. Opvallend aan de koorklank is de medewerking van mannelijke alten (twee van de vier). Zoals altijd bij dit ensemble zijn de technische afwerking en de intonatie vlekkeloos. Een prachtige inkijk in het Amerikaanse repertoire voor onbegeleid gemengd koor uit het midden van de vorige eeuw, met Reich (voor twee 'slagwerkers') als extraatje. Siebe Riedstra - Volledig artikel

Crescendo-magazine 28/12/2015: The Sixteen et la magie de Purcell
Son 10 – Livret 10 – Répertoire 10 – Interprétation 9
…Côté distribution vocale, on est proche de l’idéal. Les chanteurs, tous anglais, sont en outre les membres du choeur « The Sixteen » : leur diction est limpide, leur rapport à l’orchestre, excellent. …. Quant à l’orchestre, il fait preuve d’une grande richesse d’affects – au risque parfois de se perdre dans les détails, mais avec une élégance constante. On y trouve à la fois la variété de couleurs propre l’orchestration de Purcell – et largement soutenue par un continuo aux effectifs judicieusemment choisis – et l’entrelacs contrapuntique des lignes mélodiques, mis en relief par une interprétation équilibrée. Cette Indian Queen est donc une réussite propre à toucher chacun – et pas seulement les amateurs de musique ancienne !- Quentin Mourier

www.sinfinimusic.com 13/10/2015: Poetry in Music
…The chicken and egg of the arts, poetry and music have always existed in a symbiotic relationship – each inspiring and begetting the other. It's a relationship that's celebrated on The Sixteen's new album, a collection of unaccompanied English motets and partsongs spanning five centuries.  …Auden's text is knife-clean in articulation, and the many textural layers of Britten's setting are balanced with impressive clarity. They are the centrepieces of yet another superb disc from Harry Christophers and his ensemble. - Alexandra Coghlan

www.bachtrack.com 11/10/2015: A Heavenly Vespers: The Sixteen soar in Monteverdi's masterpiece
Last night, Christophers breathed life into this Vespers imbuing it with passion and energy in the more fulsome sections, and a sense of awe and reverence in the ethereal moments…., Christophers poured himself into the music, breathing it and living it, the very sentiments etched on his brow, urging his singers on by his own magnetism.
….And how sensitively did The Sixteen respond to all his directions. From the full-bodied opening Deus in adiutorum bristling with energy to the wonderful lightness and crisp rhythms of Nisi Dominus The Sixteen consistently impressed with their scintillating intonation and the full weight of their tone. There were many moments of great beauty, … In such a complex, multifaceted work, no one performance is ever going to fully satisfy. And yet as the final Gloria rang out in all its glorious, spine-tingling polyphony, this was a performance which ultimately had the power to touch both mind and heart. - Andrew Larkin

www.limelightmagazine.com.au 10/08/2015 : Gorczycki - Conductus funebris
This is the third release in The Sixteen’s admirable exploration of Polish choral works and offers a sample of works by Grzegorz Gerwazy Gorczycki (c. 1665-1734) … the works are sung with the austere purity one expects from this choir with impeccable intonation and enunciation of text while the instrumental ensemble is secure and enlivens the textures with varied continuo. Documentation is exemplary while sound quality is natural and clear. - Arnold Warwick

www.limelightmagazine.com.au 8/07/2015: CD Purcell The Indian Queen
Finally, one of Britain’s finest ensembles tackles the final masterpiece of one of Britain’s finest composers. The results are, as you’d expect, spectacular. …
It goes without saying that the choral singing is exemplary throughout, as is the orchestral playing, all under Harry Christophers’ unerringly stylish direction. - Will Yeoman

www.pizzicato.lu 10/07/2015 : Feiner Chorklang
Der anscheinend nimmermüde Harry Christophers und sein Vokalensemble ‘The Sixteen’ haben sich zu einer Pilgerfahrt zur Musik Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrinas aufgemacht und sind mittlerweile bei CD Nummer 6 angelangt. …Das solistisch bestens besetzte Ensemble pflegt einen feinen, schön ausbalancierten und differenzierten Chorklang. Dadurch wird eine unvergleichliche Leichtigkeit und Natürlichkeit vermittelt. Die Musik fließt geradezu unbeschwert dahin, intime Klänge, die berühren, stets umgeben von der Aura des sakralen Mysteriums.
Translation :
The apparently tireless Harry Christopher and his vocal ensemble The Sixteen arrived now at their 6th CD with music by Palestrina. Again, we admire the beautifully balanced and differentiated choir sound as well as an incomparable ease and naturalness, yet characterized by the aura of the sacred mystery. - Guy Engels

Sydney Morning Herald 11/03/2015: Near perfection you'll ache to return to
As Harry Christophers' choir, The Sixteen returned, with their ineffably smooth balance to the mellifluously undulating lines of the final Agnus Dei of Palestrina's Missa Regina Caeli, whose opening Kyrie had begun the concert, one could be convinced that music is indeed an addiction.
The Sixteen also reach a near perfection in this music in their glowing sound which is always vivid but never unsettled. Whether it is the music of angels or an addictive substance is for researcher and preacher to argue. For the listener, one simply wants to return to it over and over again. - Peter McCallum

www.smh.com.au 9/03/2015:The Queen of Heaven by The Sixteen
…The ensemble brought a distinctive equanimity in their approach to the varied repertoire; performing with emotional understatement that belied their complete commitment to a sophisticated interpretation of the music. As a wag in the audience remarked, from their calm facial expressions, it looked as if the choir was queuing for the next bus to arrive while giving voice to sublime harmonies that were transporting the audience onto another plane. 
I particularly appreciated the way in which everything about Christophers's conducting created space: defining each note, shaping the phrases, ensuring clarity between vocal parts and finally at the end of each item, his arms would remain upraised holding open the space for the sound to linger and reach its own completion. A final mind-tingling encore, MacMillan's Sedebit Domini Rex, sent the audience out in a state of exhilaration. - Jennifer Gall

www.sinfinimusic.com 4/03/2015: This disc of music from Spain's Golden Age is a magnificent window onto some of the finest choral works of the Renaissance,
The Sixteen's director Harry Christophers has chosen a well-contrasted programme that shows off this breadth. Some pieces stand out in particular: one is Guerrero's joyous Laudate Dominum, from the opening that sounds like a sonorous peal of bells, to the inventive and playful interplay of rhythms. The other is Lobo's beautiful Versa est in luctum, a funeral motet to mark the death of King Philip II of Spain. The music flows like gently falling tears, catching against deliciously spine-tingling dissonances.
The Sixteen's singing is crystalline and beautiful. - Emma Baker

www.crescendo-magazine.be 27/02/2015: Un ensemble convaincant
…Les Vêpres de Monteverdi sont sans aucun doute l’une des œuvres sacrées les plus magnifiques, variées et inspirées qui puisse exister. …on apprécie la qualité de l’ensemble et la beauté des voix et on y reste attaché tout au long de l’album.  - Anne-Sophie Fayt

www.seenandheard-international.com 10/12/2014: A Brilliantly Sung Festive Hotch-Potch from The Sixteen
…we got The Sixteen doing what they do so brilliantly; singing a wide range of repertoire so well that sounds as though it was written especially for them. Of course, they sounded predictably magnificent in the soaring Renaissance structures of Palestrina, … ….Lauridsen’s O Magnum Mysterium, they brought to life the harmonies that could be both comforting and unsettling in a way that sounded both ravishingly beautiful and strangely intimate. - Simon Thompson

The Guardian 9/12/2014: The Sixteen/Christophers– rich in sonority and associations
This Christmas-themed programme was simply but beautifully done. ……this was a typical Harry Christophers programme, simply done but rich in sonority and associations.
In Palestrina’s O Magnum Mysterium, Christophers created a flow which managed to be at once seamless and yet perfectly articulated, with first the sense of awe felt by the shepherds and then their jubilation in the Alleluias. …
Magnificat (Palestrina) whose alternation of plainchant with polyphonic settings achieved a graceful beauty. And with a final division of the Sixteen’s voices into three sections for their encore, Michael Praetorius’s Quem Pastores Laudavere, came changing colours and an aura of serenity. - Rian Evans

www.sinfinimusic.com 11/11/2014: CD Monteverdi Vespers of 1610
Thanks to its sheer variety, this has to be one of the most mesmerizing works in the entire sacred Italian Baroque canon. It's also natural musical habitat for the Sixteen, so it would have been surprising had they not presented it in the resplendent form in which it appears on this double-disc recording. There are no weak moments within the crisp, vibrant ensemble singing, and solos are delivered with vitality and loveliness of tone. Texts are convincingly expressed, and the vocal lines' virtuosic demands are always exquisitely controlled. - Charlotte Gardner

www.seenandheard-international.com 12/08/2014 : The Sixteen Juxtapose Two Different Musical Worlds
…When the Renaissance polyphony began things really took off, with their trademark multi-layered clarity that seemed to soar and reflect back on itself, just like the architectural chambers of a great cathedral.  Taverner’s Sanctus from his mass O Michael was particularly impressive, the many vocal layers building and rising in a majestic display of multi-layered choral unity.  It was also fascinating to watch Christophers reposition his singers for each number, like expertly arranged building blocks; the sound affected  not just by the number of voices but also by where they physically stood on stage. -  Simon Thompson

www.musebaroque.fr 5/07/2014 : Versailles  - A la grâce de Dieu !
…Place à l’orchestre ! C’est un ensemble instrumental d’une très grande qualité que nous avons eu la chance d’entendre avecThe Sixteen, une justesse parfaite, des cordes impeccablement synchronisées, un continuo fourni, mais sans excès (on aurait toutefois apprécié d’entendre un peu plus le théorbe), et une mention toute spéciale aux deux trompettistes qui ont subjugué la foule par leur clarté et leur justesse.
…, du côté du chœur, la musique était au rendez-vous dans ce qu’elle avait de plus beau, de plus touchant. …Et cette humilité grandiose comme, il est dit plus haut, nous donna des frissons dans les chœurs de triomphe et particulièrement dans le très célèbre « Hallelujah » qui clôture la deuxième partie de l’oratorio, scandé sans accent et en toute humilité….il nous a fallut cinq bonnes secondes pour nous remettre du frisson qui nous a tous parcouru de concert, et enfin nous avons pu tourner la page sur la seconde partie sous un tonnerre d’applaudissement. - François d’Irancy

The Guardian 16/06/2014: A glorious celebration of Renaissance polyphony
In the second of two Sheppard settings of In Manus Tuas, sung by male voices alone, it was again these dissonant moments that were spiking the sweetness that excited the ear.
Davy's O Domine Caeli Terraeque Creator - …A quality of grace in the trio of solo voices marked the heart of the work, before the gradual accumulation of glorious sound in the full choir. But the most gorgeous singing came last, with Vox Patris Caelestis by Mundy,…. The sensuousness of its words was matched by the sensual flow of the music and the vivid word painting, while conductor Harry Christophers's quickened pace added to the growing momentum. Mundy seemed not to want to end his elaborate Amen. This audience, likewise, would have been happy if it had gone on and on. - Rian Evans

Times 31/01/2014: Recording The Voice of the Turtle Dove
…Does the music beguile? Well that’s not quite the right word for the vigorous art of John Sheppard, Richard Davy and William Mundy. Does it soothe? Yes, if the Latin texts are quiet and prayerful. Does it inspire? Always and totally. Listen to Mundy’s florid epic ‘Vox patris’, and you’ll soar…. - Geoff Brown

 

 

 

top