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Baroque Voices - vocal Ensemble

News and current projects


15 July 2011

The Full Monte project

Following on from the huge success of their Monteverdi 1610 Vespers performances in 2010, the singers of Baroque Voices, directed by Pepe Becker, along with some of the finest early music specialist instrumentalists from New Zealand and abroad, have this year embarked upon a four-year project, with the aim of performing most, if not all, of the music contained in Monteverdi’s nine Books of Madrigals, published throughout (and after) his life.

Rather than presenting the entire collection in chronological order of publication, we begin with Book One (unaccompanied madrigals for five voices), juxtaposed with selections from Book Nine (madrigals and canzonettas for 2-3 voices, with continuo accompaniment. Some subsequent concerts will follow a similar format, to show the contrast between prima pratica / stile antico (the older style of polyphonic vocal composition) and seconda pratica / stile moderno (the more radical, highly emotive, modern style of writing instigated by Monteverdi, thus giving him his reputation as a great innovator and ‘master of words’ in his music).

"The Full Monte: concert 1" was given in Wellington on 1 May 2011, and we repeat it in Christchurch on 17 July 2011.
See the BV concert schedule for details.

See here for more details on The Full Monte project.
See the BV Archive page for programme notes.

14 September 2008

In October, BV will be touring NZ for Chamber Music NZ with early instrumental ensemble Phantastic Spirits, performing a  programme of Italian and English music from the dawn of the Baroque era entitled "Love is in the Ayre". Click on the Chamber Music NZ link above for tour details, and/or, visit our Concert Schedule page for details of our special pre-tour concert in Wellington on Thursday 2nd October.


14 March 2008

This will be a busy year for BV: we have our usual line-up of innovative concerts, including the now annual "Alleluia: a newё work!" performance of Medieval European & Contemporary NZ works, and the Musica Sacra Concert Series in St Mary of the Angels in Wellington. But we also have two especially exciting pieces of news...

Towards the end of 2007 we received notification that we had successfully secured funding from Creative NZ, to commission four NZ composers - Jack Body, Helen Bowater, Carol Shortis & yours truly Pepe Becker - to write new works for our "Alleluia: a newё work!" concert in May 2008. This is great news for us, as we have decided to do a concert of this nature (and title) every year now, and this funding endorses and ackowledges our commitment to NZ Music - of equal importance and interest to the group as our Early Music performances.

Earlier in 2007 we were invited by Chamber Music NZ to do a tour of the country in October 2008 - Baroque Voices, with early music instrumental group Phantastic Spirits (top NZ early music players brought together by viola da gamba player Robert Oliver), will perform in seven centres around NZ, giving those audiences a taste of the sort of music and performance that the famous European ensemble Hesperion XXI will deliver to only Auckland and Wellington audiences. This is a great honour for us to be promoted alongside this world-class group, and we look forward to being able to do multiple performances of our programme of early Baroque Italian and English music, entitled "Love is in the Ayre".


1 Sept 2006

Our most recent concert, “Massive!”, received excellent feedback from audience members and the press (see ‘reviews’ page), and we now have the performance available on CD.

Last month we sadly said farewell to our tenor Alastair Carey, and this month we do the same to soprano Madeleine Pierard and countertenor Christopher Warwick - all of whom are moving to Britain to further their singing careers. These three gifted singers have each contributed so much to BV performances in recent years. We wish them every success and happiness; we will miss them all greatly – as musicians, colleagues and friends; but we look forward to their return to NZ and to working with them all again one day.

Meanwhile, life goes on, and we have the Musica Sacra concert series coming up: three concerts in St Mary of the Angels church, Wellington, on 24 Sept, 29 Oct and 17 Dec. (See Pepe’s concert schedule for details).

Pepe is also planning a trip to the UK and Europe (late Dec 06 to late Jan 07), during which she will be seeking potential performance opportunities for the group.


BV after the Massive! concert, 22 July 2006

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last updated: 15 July, 2011