Early music doesn’t get much better than this: an a cappella quartet of gorgeous voices singing music they know inside and out, along with period music played on a historically-inspired organ. That’s what you’ll get this Sunday afternoon at Grace Lutheran church, Tacoma, as the Canonici Consort of Voices presents early English masses along with Jonathan Wohlers playing Renaissance English music on the church’s beautiful Fritts organ.
When John Dunstable, John Plummer, John Bedyngham and Walter Frye were writing music, Henry VIII was yet unthought of and England was still part of the Catholic church. Yet all around Europe the Renaissance was just beginning to flower, with new styles like pleasant-sounding triad harmony swirling polyphonically around the cantus firmus melody. The masses these 15th-century composers wrote merged Catholic theology with the new harmonic ideals of beauty; hearing them sung is to be transported to a different, calmer moment of time.
The four members of Canonici directed by Dr. Anne Lyman are all early-music specialists, and sing this music with knowledge and grace. Rounding out the program is Trinity Lutheran’s organist Jonathan Wohlers performing English organ music from the period on the golden Fritts organ, inspired by early European organs and built here in Tacoma. He’ll also give a short demonstration during intermission.