Review: The Sixteen, St Marie’s

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Sheffield’s Catholic cathedral was packed out for a thrilling first visit to Sheffield by this world-class choir, who specialise in early English and sacred music.

The attention of the audience was held completely by the group’s beautiful voices.

They presented 16th-century music from celebrated Renaissance sacred music composers Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina and Gregorio Allegri and more modern interpretations by living composer James MacMillan.

The beauty of the voices of the choir, conducted immaculately by their founder Harry Christophers, was stunning in its precision and range.

A new version of Allegri’s lovely Miserere, which split the choir between the main body of the church and the lady’s chapel above, was amazing. The delicate voice of the soprano suddenly soared thrillingly high from among the lovely plainsong harmonies below.

MacMillian’s Miserere in the second half was a fascinating contrast to the Allegri, full of passion and drama.

The moving final piece, Palestrina’s Agnes Dei, was a thing of beauty, serenity and poetry.

All the hard work to get The Sixteen to visit Sheffield was worth it. Here’s hoping they return.