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San Francisco Renaissance Voices
May 15, 2018
San Francisco Renaissance Voices

Naomi Braun, alto; Daniel Harpe, tenor; Katherine McKee, alto;
Colby Roberts, tenor; Dan Stanley, tenor, violin; Nick Volkert, baritone                                                                          with lutenist Matthew Xie

To Henry with Love From Florence

The King has moved his court to Hunsdon for fear of catching the “sweating sickness” and only a few servants and members of the household remain behind. Two young Wards stumble upon a mysterious basket that holds music books that likely were a gift to Henry from the Republic of Florence by ambassador Francesco Portinari as they play in the library. They summon the Keeper of the King’s Library who knows exactly what to do – gather the household and sing from them!

We are delighted to present a rare performance of madrigals from this collection of Italian masterpieces, sent as a gift to Henry VIII from Florence, Italy, a five-volume set of madrigal and motet part-books that were assembled in Florence and sent as a gift—or “musical embassy”—to the English court in the late 1520’s. Our stellar singers will be joined by lutenist Matthew Xie for this very special costumed performance, which will also include English and Spanish pieces from the late 15th and early 16th centuries. The performance of these rarely heard works of the pieces from the Florentine part books is made possible through the kind permission of The University of Chicago Press.

San Francisco Renaissance Voices made our debut in 2004 with a “standing room only” performance of  Victoria’s Requiem and quickly became a favorite of San Francisco Bay Area Early Music audiences.

We have consistently earned praise for our “gossamer sound … a sound something akin to spiritual levitation” as well as recognition for our imaginative programming and christened the Bay Area’s“hipper than thou” Early Music ensemble by San Francisco Classical Voice and in 2010 SFWeekly chose us as “Best Classical Music” for their Best of San Francisco edition.  We are the San Francisco Bay Area’s professional mixed-voice ensemble dedicated to performing and exploring the a cappella choral music of the Renaissance particularly lesser-known and rarely-performed works, as well as exploring music from this period outside of the traditional European canon.

Our Opera Early & Ancient San Francisco mini-series seeks to present to our audiences operatic and related works from the Medieval through Baroque periods and has included such works as our “technicolor” production of Hildegard von Bingen’s Ordo Virtutum (Hildegard’s little-performed musical mantra rang out anew” – Los Angeles Times) and the west coast premiere of William Boyce’s Solomon (The performance was often exciting and even eye-opening … a performance other groups struggle to achieve on record – San Francisco Classical Voice).  Join us soon for one of our exciting concerts!