Siglo de Oro
Bringing unusual and neglected music to life
'Confident, sonorous and full of character'
Registered Charity 1182321
Siglo de Oro is one of the leading vocal ensembles of its generation, praised for its golden tone, seamless blend, and innovative programming. The group made its professional debut in 2014 at the Spitalfields Festival, of which the Financial Times said: ‘Siglo de Oro, under the assured direction of Patrick Allies, performed with vivacity and poise’. Since then, the group has given concerts at St John’s Smith Square, Stour Music and the Barber Institute, performed live on BBC Radio 3’s In Tune, and taken up invitations to give concerts in Belgium, the Netherlands, Finland and Malta. Siglo de Oro’s upcoming plans include debuts at Tage Alter Musik Regensburg in Germany and London's Wigmore Hall, and well as the ensemble’s first US tour.
The group has made four critically acclaimed recordings with Delphian Records. The first, released in 2016, was made a Christmas Choice by BBC Music Magazine, and called 'a debut with a difference', while Gramophone described it as 'so invigorating... this one hits you with its character and depth’. The group’s second disc, featuring the world premiere recording of a mass by Hieronymus Praetorius, was released in 2018 to outstanding reviews. BBC Music Magazine awarded it five stars, made it Choral and Song Album of the Month, and said ‘Siglo de Oro has struck gold!’. The disc was placed on the longlist for the 2019 BBC Music Magazine Awards. Siglo de Oro's third disc, celebrating the music of Matthias Werrecore, Gramophone said 'this is a hugely impressive disc in both programming and performance'.
Sunday May 23rd
Tage Alter Musik Regensburg, Germany
Friday August 6th
MA Festival, Bruges, Belgium
Sunday October 17th
Little Missenden Festival, UK
CHRISTMAS IN PUEBLA (Delphian DCD34238)
In December 2020 we released our fourth album, with Delphian Records. The programme invokes the spirit of a Christmas Eve mass in Puebla Cathedral in colonial Spain (modern-day Mexico). The music is a blend of lively dance-infused villancicos and high Renaissance polyphony. We were also joined for this disc by a fantastic team of period instrumentalists!
"Padilla’s heartfelt Missa Joseph fili David has never been recorded, and it boasts some shimmering polyphony, luminously sung, but the real heat comes from the villancicos and xacaras, earthier music intended for the masses...Here the Christmas story gets a majestically madcap twist, and the instrumentalists add a final dash of pepper." The Times*****
"‘Christmas in Puebla’ is to your traditional festive classical album as a spicy, aromatic glass of mulled wine is to a tepid house red... Banish thoughts of cherub-faced choristers in musical soft-focus: this is high-energy, high-definition Christmas, prayer meets party." Gramophone
"Siglo de Oro conjure the lively, dance-infused spirit of a 17th-century Christmas in Mexico ... all unfamiliar, brilliantly done." The Guardian
"Historically, Christmas in the Mexican city of Puebla has been quite the foot-tapping affair… the evidence is vividly illustrated in this upbeat compilation by Patrick Allies and his Siglo de Oro ensemble… it’s a head-spinning clash of cultures." The Scotsman *****
"A foot-tapping festive treat… if you’re in search of something a bit different, you might like to try this delightful album of Baroque Christmas music with a twist." The Telegraph****
"11 singers of clarity and colour glitter and glow... a sonic festive feast ... The addition of local dance rhythms brings a rustic earthiness to Renaissance Mass from Mexico."
Choir and Organ *****
MUSIC FOR MILAN CATHEDRAL (Delphian DCD34224)
In November 2019 our third recording was released on Delphian Records. The aim of the project was to bring attention to the music of Matthias Werrecore, maestro at Milan Cathedral in the first half of the 16th century. Alongside Werrecore's motets - recorded here for the first time, are pieces by his Milanese predecessors and contemporaries Franchinus Gaffurius, Josquin des Prez and Gaspar van Weerbeke.
"Werrecore is a significant rediscovery who richly deserves the attention of these youthful voices and our ears. Siglo de Oro display emotion, dynamic sensitivity, sustained lines and a balance revealing the interplay of internal voices... plumbing deep wells of spiritual devotion, this music meets its match in committed performances of simultaneous unanimity of character."
Choir and Organ *****
"The smooth, honeyed sound of Siglo de Oro is largely due to the soft and clear sheen of their radiant sopranos. As an ensemble they resemble The Cardinall’s Musick both in tone and in their approach to the architecture of larger-scale motets... Most fascinating on this album are the contrasting settings of Inviolata, integra et casta by Werrecore and Josquin, which show a huge attention to detail in performance... To portray effectively such ranges of polyphonic textures is really exciting: this is a hugely impressive disc in both programming and performance."
"With their latest recording, Patrick Allies and his vocal ensemble Siglo de Oro lift the veil that has shrouded the Flemish composer Matthias Werrecore... Werrecore has been overshadowed by his predecessor in Milan, Josquin des Prez – but unjustly so, judging by the quality of the music on this disc... The youthful voices of Siglo de Oro produce a fresh, ingenuous sound. Their timbre is open and expressive - the use of vibrato adding a tremulous urgency to some of the more emotive passages... Director Patrick Allies shapes the architecture of the large-scale musical edifices with admirable control."
BBC Music Magazine ****
"The sacred music of Hermann Matthias Werrecore, a name previously unfamiliar to this reviewer, is featured on over half of the tracks of this fine recording and it is a revelation... The performances by Siglo de Oro under Patrick Allies are radiant: ideally balanced and paced to perfection, they shed Mediterranean light upon this already outstanding repertory."
Early Music Review
"I last encountered Siglo de Oro and Patrick Allies on a recording of Hieronymus Prætorius’ music for Easter on another ground-breaking Delphian recording... The new recording continues the good news... May we have more, please?"
Music Web International
"Siglo de Oro use a group of 13 singers (reducing numbers for some) with female sopranos and a mixed line up of altos. They make a lovely even blended sound, very clear and beautifully smooth. It is a very English sound, think Tallis Scholars, though Patrick Allies has created a distinctive sound for the group and is anything but bland. The disc is imaginatively put together, and certainly deserves to give Werrecore the exposure he deserves."
Robert Hugill ****
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MISSA TULERUNT DOMINUM MEUM (Delphian DCD34208)
In March 2018 our second disc was released with Delphian Records. This project is the world premiere recording of an eight-part mass - Missa Tulerunt Dominum meum by late Renaissance German composer Hieronymus Praetorius. Alongside the mass are motets for Holy Week by Andrea Gabrieli, Hans Leo Hassler, Jacob Handl and Orlande de Lassus.
‘Here is a choir in which all the elements are held in perfect equilibrium. Patrick Allies ponders every note before moulding lines whose suppleness in turn coalesce into a breathing, organic whole. He ferments vigour, urgency and narrative sweep… Praetorius’s Surrexit pastor bonus rounds off a beautifully recorded, aristocratically executed disc. Siglo de Oro has struck gold!’
Choral Disc of the Month
BBC Music Magazine, May 2018
'These are accomplished performances, confident, sonorous and full of character... Patrick Allies' firm grasp of pacing and architecture serves both choir and music well.’
‘One wonders whether the subtle genius of Praetorius’s music would be so pronounced were it not for the diligence of Siglo de Oro. Their pitch is spot on, harmonies balanced, phrasing well refined, regardless of its contrapuntal intricacies. The group made its professional debut in 2014 and they’re already accomplished. I’m ready for more.’
American Record Review, July/August 2018
'The centrepiece is Praetorius’s brilliantly scored Mass... Siglo de Oro’s members sing with passion and refinement.'
DROP DOWN YE HEAVENS (Delphian DCD34184)
In 2016 our debut CD, Drop Down Ye Heavens, was released on Delphian Records. The disc sees the choir collaborate with saxophonist Sam Corkin in a groundbreaking set of newly-commissioned works from eight composers. The recording also features previously unrecorded antiphons by renaissance composers Pierre Certon and Antoine Mornable, and contemporary pieces by Judith Weir and Bonnie Miksch.
‘That’s the very reason I find Siglo de Oro so invigorating. Professional London start-ups can sound frustratingly generic but this one hits you with its character and depth, and with an approach to blend that doesn’t want to paper over the music’s joins but instead uses voices of similar weight and vibrato to ensure we hear the grind of the parts while never being in any doubt that the ensemble is a single unit.’
‘Siglo de Oro is a choir founded by London-based students, and this is its first recording. It’s a debut with a difference… a novel, ungimmicky project, vividly executed.’
BBC Music Magazine
**** (Christmas Choice)
‘[the disc] takes its title from Judith Weir’s Drop Down Ye Heavens, an immediately captivating opening number… The different ways in which the contemporary composers integrate the vocal sound of the saxophone is intriguing; the singing’s first class. An impressive and adventurous debut from the ensemble.’
BBC Radio 3 Record Review