His Majestie's Clerkes and Newberry Consort | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

His Majestie's Clerkes and Newberry Consort 

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In what should prove to be a historic joint appearance as well as the local early music event of the year, the Evanston-based choral ensemble His Majestie's Clerkes (hands down the best chamber choir in the area) will join forces with the Newberry Consort under the direction of Mary Springfels for the season close of the "Early Music From the Newberry Library" series. The program focuses in the music of two 17th-century contemporaries, Claude le Jeune, a Protestant composing in Catholic France, and William Byrd, a Catholic composing in Protestant England. Both were persecuted, but their art was of such high quality that they were able to rise above their critics. Byrd's music is almost ethereal in its mystic beauty, while le Jeune's music is more practical and down-to-earth, always serving as a vehicle for textual clarity. Included will be instrumental music set for viols, lute, and viola da gamba; songs, featuring celebrated countertenor Drew Minter; some psalm settings for home use; and some large-scale sacred works. The grand finale of the evening will unite all forces together for a glorious Easter verse anthem of Byrd's: Christ Is Rising. It is an event that will combine creative and balanced programming with superb artistry, and a two-for-one introduction to Chicago's ever-widening and constantly improving early-music scene. Saturday, 8 PM, Scottish Rite Cathedral, 930 N. Dearborn; 943-9090, ext. 310.

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