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Tenebrae, Britain’s Premier Chamber Choir, Makes its Princeton Debut

October 16, 2012





Princeton University Concerts continues its 2012-2013 season on Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 8PM with the Tenebrae, one of the premier chamber choirs in the world today.  The concert will take place in the Princeton University Chapel, a new venue for Princeton University Concerts, and will feature works by Rachmaninoff and the Russian Choral Tradition.



RACHMANINOV  Priidite, poklonimsya (All-Night Vigil)
RACHMANINOV Great Litany (Liturgy of St John Chrysostom)
RACHMANINOV The Cherubic Hymn
RACHMANINOV Blazhen muzh (All-Night Vigil)
CHESNOKOV  Izhe Heruvimi
KALINNKOV I will love thee
PAUL MEALOR Now sleeps the crimson petal
PAUL MEALOR Salvator mundi
RACHMANINOV Bogoritse Devo
ARVO PART The Beatitudes
PAUL MEALOR  Locus iste
PAUL MEALOR Ubi caritas
CHESNOKOV Svete tihi
RACHMANINOV  Nÿne otpushchayeshi
TCHAIKOVSKY Legend (The Crown of Roses)
KEDROV  Otche nash
RACHMANINOV Vzbrannoy voyevode (All-Night Vigil)




Few things can move us as deeply as the human voice in song—in exaltation, in ecstasy, in memorial. In just over a decade, Britain’s 18-voice Tenebrae, directed by former King’s Singer Nigel Short, has combined passion and precision to become one of the premier chamber choirs in the world. This year they won a BBC Music Magazine Award after being the first artists nominated twice in one category. Their concert will feature liturgical music of the rich, Russian repertoire as well as works by Paul Mealor, the Welsh choral composer who’s been wildly popular since his music was performed at the recent Royal Wedding. The evening will be downright Princetonian as well, since one of Tenebrae’s principal singers, Gabriel Crouch, directs Princeton’s Glee Club and Choral Program. According to Crouch, “I love being a member of Tenebrae because the group works with the keen attention to detail and the precision of a small ensemble like The King’s Singers (of which Crouch was a member) or The Tallis Scholars but the choir has a lot of power. A number of the voices are massive and when you combine those kind of voices that can sweep you off your feet with the delicate nuance of a small choir, the results can be spellbinding.”   Tenebrae are known for an acute sensitivity to acoustical space and always exploit the unique qualities of the space in which they’re performing, which in this case will be the gothic splendor of the Princeton University Chapel.  Crouch has said that “there are very few places in America where a choir like this can make what it would consider to be it’s own home sound.  The Princeton University Chapel is one of the few where we can authentically recreate that English cathedral sound.  It’s the perfect space for us.”


Formed in 2001, the group was launched to critical acclaim with a performance of Nigel Short’s own composition, The Dream of Herod. Since then they have collaborated with Sir John Tavener, Karl Jenkins, Pierre Thilloy, Alexander Levine, and Joby Talbot. Their dedication to the music of today is complemented by a commitment to the music of the past; from medieval chant to Romantic masterworks, they respond to the demands inherent in whatever they sing with equal passion and musicality.  The group has toured all over the world, visiting Ireland, France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, the USA and Bermuda, performing in many renowned festivals (BBC Proms, Montreux Choral Festival, Edinburgh Festival) and tailoring their distinctive performances to many venues (Royal Albert Hall,  King’s College Chapel, Lausanne Cathedral). Working with the LSO under Sir Colin Davis, the English Concert, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the Scottish Ensemble, and the Endymion ensemble, the choir have proved themselves as adept at larger orchestral works as the a capella repertoire for which they are so well known. The word ‘TENEBRAE’ comes from the medieval latin meaning ‘darkness’. Nowadays it is more commonly associated with the word ‘shadows’. It is also the name for the service of Matins and Lauds which are sung on the last three days of Holy Week. This includes a ceremony of candles.  This concert marks Tenebrae’s Princeton debut. 


This concert is being presented in collaboration with McCarter Theatre but all single tickets are being sold by Princeton.







WHEN:                                      Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 8:00PM


WHERE:                                  Princeton University Concerts,

Princeton University Chapel


TICKETS:                                $25  General;  $5 Students

By Phone:  609-258-9220


In Person:

Frist Campus Center Ticket Office (open Monday-Friday, 12-6pm)

Princeton University Chapel Ticket Office (open two hours prior to the performances)


PICTURES:                            Please visit the “For Press” section of Princeton University Concerts

                                                      website to download pictures of Tenebrae,



NOTES:                                   Program Notes are available by contacting Princeton University Concerts at (609) 258-2800



For all questions, contact the Concert Office at (609) 258-2800.



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Dasha (Darya) Koltunyuk
Phone:  609-258-6024