Sydney Opera House
March 10, 2015

The Sixteen was one of the first small-scale professional choirs on the scene, and one of the first to found its own record label, Coro, in 2001. A healthy fecundity in the studio has led to over 100 recordings to date making ‘The Sixteen sound’ one of the most recognisable to anyone not lucky enough to get to hear them on one of their regular choral pilgrimages. The chance to catch them in the flesh in Australia was not to be missed and this ravishing evening of Marian masses and motets under founder and conductor Harry Christophers was a showcase for imaginative programming, vocal skill and making the connection between church music past and present.

The Sixteen started out with the music of the high Renaissance, so Palestrina has been on their books for many years now. They also have a commitment to new music and the future of the liturgy (a relationship with the pioneering Genesis Foundation has led to a series of important commissions and a relatively new singer training scheme), and one of their closest supporters is the Scottish composer James MacMillan, a selection of whose work proved a winning counterbalance in...