Date: August 25, 2013
Category: Professional Choirs
Location: London, England, United Kingdom
“...My first impulse on hearing this disc was to commend it unreservedly to each and every man, woman, and child on the planet...” Fanfare
“A composer on a spiritual quest who's found the near-perfect singers for it...” Gramophone
“TONUS PEREGRINUS, a vocal ensemble made up of first-rank singers led by Pitts...” All Music Guide
“...combined talent for divinely pure sound...” Choir & Organ
“In terms of sheer beauty of performance and recording, this disc takes some beating...” Fanfare
“...one of the most rewarding I've heard for years...” On an Overgrown Path
“...it's pretty much impossible not to reach a state of bliss after listening to a new album featuring seven pieces chosen by English a capella choir TONUS...” Musical Toronto
TONUS PEREGRINUS was founded by the composer Antony Pitts in 1990, during his studies with Dr Edward Higginbottom at New College, Oxford, to record Music for a Large Audience, and today is an established ensemble in Britain and abroad with a significant discography on Hyperion and Naxos. Acclaim in the BBC Music Magazine, Fanfare, Gramophone, and The Telegraph speaks for itself: “utterly spellbinding”, “heatedly recommended”, “utterly beguiling”, “gloriously sung by this superb choir”, as does the prestigious Cannes Classical Award for the ensemble’s debut release and No.1 album of Arvo Pärt’s Passio – Editor’s Choice in Gramophone, as was the Hyperion album Seven Letters and other sacred choral music.
TONUS PEREGRINUS has a history of performing at extraordinary occasions such as the memorials for Alexander Litvinenko – a former audience member – and of putting on remarkable live productions such as a semi-staged version of the 14th-century Le Voir Dit by Guillaume de Machaut; other innovative projects include The Naxos Book of Carols – circulated to millions of homes in the UK and available as a printed carol-book from Faber Music – and the ensemble’s studio rendition of Tears for Fears’s Mad World.
At the core of TONUS PEREGRINUS are a dozen singers – Joanna Forbes L’Estrange, Rebecca Hickey, Lisa Beckley, Kathryn Knight, Alexander L’Estrange, Richard Eteson, Benedict Hymas, Matthew Long, Alexander Hickey, Alex Knight, Francis Brett, Nick Flower – who combine their diverse expertise to interpret a repertoire ranging from the end of the Dark Ages to scores where the ink is still wet. This breadth of vision is reflected in the name of the ensemble which comes from an ancient plainsong psalm tone with Jewish origins, directly linked to the Passover and the Last Supper. The tonus peregrinus chant starts on a different note in each half, hence “wandering tone” and was nicknamed tonus novissimus, the “newest”.
The journey continues with a new and highly-praised disc of music from the Eton Choirbook – the jewel in the crown of TONUS PEREGRINUS’s series of “milestones of Western Music” for Naxos – and a large-scale premiere recording of a powerful new oratorio by Antony Pitts, Jerusalem-Yerushalayim. The founding vision is as strong as ever: authentic & original.