The Tudor Consort is a specialist early choral group based in Wellington, New Zealand. It is made up of the regions finest choral singers, and depending on repertoire can range in size from 5 to 25 members. The group was formed in 1986 by Simon Ravens with the intention of performing lesser-known choral music from the late Medieval and Renaissance periods, laying special emphasis on English sixteenth century music. The repertoire performed by the Consort made it, in the words of the local media of the time, a unique group in New Zealand.
Authentic performance practice is a major aim of The Tudor Consort, and consideration of ensemble size, pronunciation, pitch, vocal style and ornamentation feature strongly in the work of the group. Under Simon Ravens the group often performed original editions, reflecting Simons own study in Britain under David Wulstan. The early success of the choir was largely attributable to Simons own professionalism and exacting standards. Simon, with The Tudor Consort, pioneered the use of liturgical reconstruction as a method of presenting early sacred music. Media and critical reaction was immediate and overwhelmingly positive.
Succeeding directors substantially expanded on the groups repertoire base to the excitement of the local musical community. Internationally recognised baroque specialist Professor Peter Walls directed performances of early 17th-century Venetian vespers and masses, music for the coronation of James II, Mozart orchestral masses, Bach and Buxtehude cantatas, Purcell and Handel anthems, many performed in conjunction with period instrument ensemble The Baroque Players. The group also staged performances of Purcells Dido and Aeneas and Blows Venus and Adonis. These performances received high critical praise. Peter also directed the choir in its first commercial recording of Peter Philips motets for the Naxos label. Peters successor Ivan Patterson introduced repertoire from the 19th and 20th centuries; under Ivans direction the group also explored the medieval period in more detail, particularly focusing on works by women composers of the period.
With the appointment of current director and cantor Alastair Carey the group has come full circle. Alastairs expertise lies in vocal production, choral blend and the repertoire of the Renaissance, particularly the sacred choral music of the English school and the Recusants. As a result of this continuing evolution The Tudor Consort continues to be admired both locally and nationally as one of New Zealands finest and most innovative early choral ensembles. The choir was invited to the 35th International Choral Competition in Tolosa, Spain. The choir entered two categories: Musica Religiosa (sacred music a cappella) and Musica Profana (secular music a cappella). In the Musica Religiosa category, the choir was awarded the silver medal. In the Musica Profana category, the choir was awarded the bronze medal.
For more information, please visit www.tudor-consort.org.nz