The Madrigal Society has been performing since 1999, with two concerts a year since 2004. For samples of our music, go to the individual concert pages, or our soundcloud page. If you like what you hear, we have CDs available of our more recent concerts – contact us to find out more!
In May 2014, we held a small concert ‘Please Love Me…I’ll Give You Bread!’ in Glebe Town Hall featuring the works of Roland de Lassus, Jacques Arcadelt and other popular 16th century composers. In October 2014, we worked with Musica Antiqua Sydney and a fifteen person Alumni Choir in our anniversary concert, ‘Celebrating 15 Years’, featuring old classics and new favourites, including Lassus’ two choir work Hola Caron. We also performed in Musica Antiqua Sydney’s concert ‘An Afternoon of Early Music’ in December.
In May 2013, we explored the works of 15th and 16th century Franco-Flemish composers in our concert ‘Love and Loss’ at the Holme Refectory. We were joined by Andrew Byrne on theorbo, and the poet Theodore Ell. In September 2013, we were joined by the Seven Teares Consort for our concert ‘A Pilgrim’s Solace’, a celebration of the 450th birthday of the prolific English composer, John Dowland.
In May 2012, our performance of ‘Off With His Head!’ at the Holme Refectory was based around the life of Elizabeth I complete with sycophants and conspiracies, in collaboration with the Seven Teares Consort. In October 2012, we presented ‘Put a Bird on It’ in the Holme Refectory featuring…birds. Big birds, small birds, glad birds, sad birds, sly birds, and a cricket. Two days later we performed again at The Hutch, in a free concert where we heard a medley of other interesting artists and later in the evening, Jehan Kanga’s The DAM(N) Project.
In May of 2011, we presented ‘Tales of Love and Adventure’ in the main common room of the Women’s College. The performance featured a variety of pieces with stories about jilted lovers, drunken monks and a fierce Spaniard, to name a few. The concert also featured Renaissance poetry, highlighting the use of storytelling as entertainment in that era. In October 2011, we performed ‘French Kiss’ in the Holme Refectory. Featuring French and English love-songs, French poetry, classical guitar, and kilos of cheese, the concert was a truly decadent evening.
In May 2010, we presented ‘Songs for the Lewd and the Lovesick‘, an evening of song about love, lost love and the pursuit of potential lovers. We performed works from the 14th to the 16th century, in the spirit of keeping alive the passion, poetry and humour of the early madrigal. In October 2010, we performed ‘Prophecy and Profanity: Sacred and Secular Faces of Early Music’ in the main common room of the Women’s College. The repertoire was chosen to showcase the variety of sources from which the madrigalisti drew their inspiration: from the worldly to the divine.
The first concert for 2009 was called ‘An die Musik: a brief history of German music’. The programme featured composers of the German Renaissance, including Schutz, Scheidt and Hassler. The major work in the program was a cantata by Buxtehude, ‘Das newgeborh’ne kindelein’.
Our 10th anniversary concert ‘Sidere Musica Eadem Mutato‘ in October 2009 brought back a choir of alumni, as well as the society’s founding president, David Yardley, to sing together with the current society.
In June 2008, the Society put on ‘Sogno Transalpino‘ in the Holme Building Refectory, bringing together a cappella music from all corners of Europe. Some pieces were reflective and nostalgic in mood “L’emigrant” while others were more upbeat and optimistic “To shorten winter’s sadness”.
In November 2008, our From Court to Cottage concert presented a collection of entirely new music suitable for all levels of society, working with instrumentalists Nami Baradan, Jehan Kanga, and David Stephano.
In June 2007 we performed Canta sol per amore, a collection of songs about love (and lack thereof). The title came from Josquin’s piece “El grillo”, about a cricket who sings only for love (and likes to drink). In this concert we branched out slightly from our typical secular repertoire, singing Tallis’ “Nunc dimittis” and Lotti’s stunning “Crucifixus”.
In October 2007 we performed Gabriel Faure’s “Requiem in D minor”, and Antonio Vivaldi’s “Gloria”, in collaboration with the Sydney University Symphony Orchestra (SUSO). In addition to full choir and orchestra, our concert also featured the Great Hall’s magnificent organ and solos performed by some of Sydney’s leading young vocalists.
In 2006 the Society performed two a capella concerts, Lament and Exultation and Since 99. The repertoire for both consisted primarily of madrigals, celebrating our love for the music we’ve been singing since our foundation in 1999. Each concert also premiered a composition by one of our own choir members — Cliff Kerr’s “Snowy Evening” in first semester and Karina Aivazian’s “Inside This Heart of Mine” in second semester.
Early in 2005, our concert Eclectica showcased a wide range of madrigals and other songs, secular and sacred — including music in seven different languages! With repertoire from this concert, we were awarded an Honourable Mention in the McDonald’s Performing Arts Challenge (formerly the City of Sydney Eisteddfod). In second semester 2005, we presented the Mozart Mass in C Minor, K427, in collaboration with SUSO.
The first semester of 2004 culminated for the Society in our concert Oriana and Ariana, held in the Refectory of the Holme Building at the University of Sydney on Thursday, 10 June 2004. In second semester, also in the Refectory, we presented Orazio Vecchi’s madrigal comedy “L’Amfiparnaso”.
Our major production for 2003 was Offenbach’s opera “The Tales of Hoffmann”, which was performed in the York Theatre at the Seymour Theatre Centre in September as part of Verge, the University of Sydney Union’s Performing Arts Festival. The production was conducted by Jennifer Condon and directed by William Evans. Anthony Phillips was the Producer and Kelly Fisher and David Gal the Executive Producers.
In 2002, we performed a concert entitled Sweet Adieu, which was held in the Holme Refectory. The concert showcased the choir as a whole as well as some smaller groups formed for the occasion, singing music both ancient and modern.
We performed Henry Purcell’s opera “Dido & Aeneas” as part of the University’s Sesquicentenary Celebrations in 2001. The performances, held in the Great Hall at the University, were conducted by David Mackay. The production was directed by Kelly Fisher and produced by David Gal, with Michelle Imison as Associate Producer.