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Live Performances

The Independent enjoys Stile Antico at the Proms.

Michael Church, The Independent (24 August, 2010)

Stile Antico are a group of Oxbridge graduates who started singing for fun, but then discovered they were serious about it: they are now showing how thrilling a cappella music by the Renaissance masters can be, and this concert was typically flawless. Their sound was wonderfully clean and vibrant, and their democratic decision not to have a conductor – to operate, in effect, as chamber musicians – was triumphantly vindicated: no conductor could have calibrated this ensemble performance more finely.

After the smoothly-sustained melodic lines of Clemens came some angular Palestrina, then a richly sonorous setting by Nicolas Gombert. Lassus’s ‘Veni, dilecte mi’ – setting a part of the text which was sexual in the extreme – was followed by Victoria’s magnificent ‘I will arise and go about the city, I will seek him whom my soul loves…’ Exquisite fragments of plainchant punctuated the longer pieces; the finale was a jubilant piece by Praetorius in which the choir subdivided into three smaller units. In short, this was a cappella heaven; on Saturday it will be broadcast on Radio 3.