A Choral Odyssey: Byrd & Pärt

9 December 2020 7.30pm This is an online programme Single episode ticket: £10 / Series ticket: £50 (6 programmes). Only one ticket needed per household

The fourth programme in our A Choral Odyssey series takes us to Hatfield House, the seat of the Cecil family. Now home to the Marquess of Salisbury, Patron of The Sixteen, it was here that Elizabeth I learnt that she was to be Queen of England.

Although separated by over four centuries, the music of William Byrd and Arvo Pärt make for a perfect match. Both spent many years facing adversity and persecution and both sought solace through their sacred music. Byrd‘s later life was lived under constant threat of religious persecution – a practising Catholic in a country where only the Anglican faith could be celebrated. However, Queen Elizabeth I not only loved music but also possessed a private empathy for Catholicism and in 1575 she granted a patent to Byrd to publish music. Pärt spent most of his life in Soviet-controlled Estonia and for most of his young life it all seemed perfectly normal. ‘We had what we had…it wasn’t until I was older that I began to appreciate what it was to live in the Soviet Union, everything enclosed or forbidden.’


The Sixteen
Harry Christophers conductor
Simon Russell Beale presenter 


Byrd Tribue, Domine
Arvo Pärt Nunc Dimittis
Arvo Pärt The Deer’s Cry