An equal attraction of Stile Antico is the group's way of putting together a program that throws into relief the features of music that may sound homogeneous to an ordinary listener. At St. Francis the choir will be presenting a program drawn from its album Heavenly Harmonies. It features music by Thomas Tallis and William Byrd, two sixteenth-century British composers who each walked the required line between musically spare Anglicanism and lush Latin works for Catholic services. On the album they juxtapose Tallis's Anglican service music and Byrd's motets and Latin mass text settings. The contrasts are strikingly beautiful and keenly effective in putting the listener in the midst of the religious divisions of the time.
The UMS's inclusion of popular and world music traditions in its programming has attracted lots of attention. Less noticed has been the variety of artists within the classical tradition that the UMS has been bringing to town. The organization's ongoing reinvention, along with some gorgeous choral singing, will be on display at St. Francis on October 27.
[Originally published in October, 2009.]