The Door to Paradise: The Music of the Eton Choirbook

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The Door to Paradise: The Music of the Eton Choirbook

Professor Stephen Darlington, recently retired Organist and Director of Music at Christ Church, Oxford, presents this lecture about the Eton Choirbook – a 16th century collection of choral music written for Eton College. Under Dr Darlington’s direction, the Choir of Christ Church, Oxford recorded a five CD series showcasing the extraordinary compositions contained in the Eton Choirbook.

When? Thursday 18th October, 6:30pm-8pm

Where? St James’ Hall, Level 1, 169-171 Phillip Street, Sydney

Wine and cheese provided.

“My first encounter with music from the Eton Choirbook was John Browne’s wonderful setting of the Stabat mater, such a compelling work that I was determined to record it with the choir of Christ Church at some point during my tenure as its director. Despite its complexity, I knew that this repertoire could find a new expression through the voices of a contemporary choir of men and boys, deeply engaged in the ritual of daily worship and not very far removed from the pattern of religious life which defined the choral establishment at Eton College in the late 15th and early 16th centuries. Browne’s masterpiece was the centrepiece of that first disc (More Divine than Human) in 2009, and since then I have recorded a total of 24 works by 13 composers from the collection, some edited and recorded here for the first time. It has been a most rewarding project which has revealed the extraordinary breadth of style amongst these composers: a project which has brought to public attention the magnetism of English liturgical music of the period.

The composers of the Eton Choirbook reveal a wide range of approach to structure, harmony, sonority, imitation, ornamentation and improvisation alongside a profound identification with the texts and their interpretation through the medium of music. It is this last aspect which has been the driving force behind this project and one which has been life-affirming for all those involved.”

(Stephen Darlington, 2018)

Tickets: $30 adults, $25 concession. Free for St James’ Institute subscribers.

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By phone: (02) 8227 1305