Royal Manuscripts: The Genius of Illumination – Hilliard Ensemble, The Sixteen, Harry Christophers
This disc offers music inspired by the British Library exhibition Royal Manuscripts: The Genius of Illumination, the first major exhibition by the Library to bring together its Royal collection, a treasure trove of illuminated manuscripts from between the ninth and sixteenth centuries assembled by the kings and queens of England. The disc includes works from the Eton Choirbook performed by The Sixteen, alongside fascinating pieces from mediaeval and Renaissance France, similarly preserved in beautifully illuminated collections of manuscripts, and performed here by the Hilliard Ensemble. Finally, one of the crowning musical glories of the Tudor period, Tallis’s monumental Spem in alium. Over the years it has been the artists’ overwhelming desire to rejoice in the survival of this great music. It is collections such as those preserved at the British Library that have enabled musicians to bring back to life works that in their own way illuminated these fascinating periods in our history.