The early Renaissance is considered one of the most extraordinary periods in history for choral music. Some of the most beautiful and luminescent music of all time comes from the pen of the Renaissance masters.

The history of music is sometimes talked about as a kind of ascent — an evolution from simplistic melodic ideas to the grand flowering of complex masterpieces played by symphony orchestras and huge choruses, everything getting better and better along the way.

It is true that music did get progressively more complex over the years, but there were some interesting tangents that happened along the way. 

Take Renaissance choral music. Back in the 1500s and early 1600s, this stuff was as rich, textured and complex as Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. Back in those days they stuffed cathedrals with choirs singing all over the place, each one with a different part that interlocked into the whole package in ways that were simply mind-boggling.

This week on Choral Concert, Peter Togni will bring you a new CD release by the Sixteen, one of the world’s finest choral ensembles, led by Harry Christophers. They’ll perform music by Renaissance choral master Palestrina.

Choral Concert, the “too beautiful for words” edition. Sunday, March 24, 2013, 9:00 - 11:00 a.m., (9:30 - 11:30 NT) on CBC Radio 2.

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For broadcast listings go to the Choral Concert home page

Check out the Greystone Singers CBC artist page

posted by Jeff Reilly on Mar 20, 2013