Big Apple music

June 19, 2018

Last week we were in New York City for a few days, and while there were able to hear New York Polyphony in concert. This is an ensemble I’ve admired for years, and it was good fortune that they happened to be singing in their hometown during our brief sojourn in the city. We made the trek up to the 92nd St Y to hear them.

They normally pivot between Renaissance and modern music, but on this night we heard only one piece from the sixteenth century — a chanson of Lassus — with most of the programme devoted to nineteenth and twentieth century repertoire: part-songs of Schubert up through part-songs of Parry, with a few modern pieces to add spice. Of the latter, my favourites were Ivan Moody’s challenging settings of Canticum Canticorum, which called for, and received, impeccable tuning and finely controlled ensemble singing. But then we’d not have expected anything less from New York Polyphony. It was a wonderful night of music.

Here is one of the pieces they sang at the show: Joseph Barnby’s Sweet and low.

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