Aleteia

Hymn to the Virgin

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The sacred music Benjamin Britten wrote at 16-years-old

“A Hymn to the Virgin” is the earliest surviving piece of church music written by 20th century English composer Benjamin Britten, which he wrote at the age of sixteen. The intricacy of this motet is impressive, especially from one so young.

Britten splits the choir into two separate groups on opposite sides of the room to sing a call and response to each other. Here, Voces8 accomplishes a similar effect by standing back to back, letting their voices travel in different directions. To add further mystery to the spiritual work, the call is in English, while the response is in Latin.

Voces8 is perfectly suited to this style. Their treatment of sacred music is tender and pious, performed in a church, the natural environment for such sounds. The Gresham Center, where this video was recorded, has just the right acoustics to make Britten’s first hymn pop.

Voces8 has been working professionally for about a decade. In their tenure they have released 17 albums of assorted choral works, in which they cover Purcell, Bach, Gershwin and more. They are currently on tour in Europe and have shows booked through 2018.

Follow Cecilia–Aleteia’s music page–on Facebook!

Song: A Hymn to the Virgin | Singer: Voces8

Voces8

Hometown: London, England

Latest Album: Winter (2016)

Fun Fact: An a cappella group from the UK who sings everything from Renaissance choral motets to rearranged modern pop hits. Originally formed in 2005, the group made it's name on their way to a competition and it has stuck for more than a decade. They went professional in 2007 and have released 17 albums of classical and modern music

Website: voces8.com

Facebook: facebook.com/VOCES8

Twitter: @VOCES8
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