Hilliard Ensemble

Composers

Biography

Active: 1974 - ; England
An entire class of English vocal ensembles, sometimes placed under an "Oxbridge Sound" umbrella, specializes in early music. Among the prestigious ranks of the Gothic Voices, the Tallis Scholars, Pro Cantione Antiqua, the Oxford Camerata, and the Sixteen, longevity and musical versatility place the Hilliard Ensemble in a class almost of their own. Named for the great Elizabethan miniaturist painter Nicholas Hilliard, and not for their longtime Read more director, the Hilliard Ensemble grew out of the musical vision of baritone Paul Hillier, a graduate of the Guildhall School of Music, and his friendships with three other singers (two of them from Oxford). Their intention was to explore the then less-heard musical riches of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Their musical odyssey has covered music from the eleventh to the seventeenth century, with a strong interest in late twentieth century vocal music as well. Though Paul Hillier himself left the ensemble in 1990 to take American academic positions at the University of California at Davis and then at the Early Music Institute at the University of Indiana, the core membership has remained otherwise fairly consistent: countertenor David James, tenors Rogers Covey-Crump and John Potter, and basses Michael George and later Gordon Jones.

The Hilliard Ensemble's work under Hillier's direction centered on English and "Netherlandish" music. Notable recordings include pathbreaking performances of Leonel Power and the Old Hall manuscript, a large selection of music from the Continental generations influenced by the English style; the "Contenance Angloise" (Dufay, Ockeghem, and Josquin); and excellent renditions of later English composers such as Thomas Tallis and William Byrd. As an example of their many departures from this Renaissance main road, however, the Hilliard's catalog features a musically powerful and quite controversial 1989 recording of the music of Perotin. At all times, Hillier and his singers performed almost exclusively one on a part (in contrast to the "choral" Tallis Scholars), with a characteristic full and resonant vocal production, and impeccable tuning. In addition, Hillier's individual approach emphasized historical pronunciation; he performed Latin texts by English composers, for instance, with regional Anglo-Latin dialects, thereby significantly altering the very sound of the music.

During Hillier's tenure as director, and even more spectacularly through the 1990s, the Hilliard Ensemble also devoted significant energy to the presentation of contemporary classical music. A large number of ECM label discs containing the tintinnabuli music of Estonian composer Arvo Pärt have featured the ensemble, as did a 1995 recording of the music of Giya Kancheli, Abii ne viderem. A two-disc compilation from 1996, A Hilliard Songbook: New Music for Voices, presented the results of several years of the ensemble's direct commissions and Hilliard Composition Prizes; among the composers represented are Morton Feldman, James MacMillan, Ivan Moody, and Joanne Metcalf. A fascinating collaboration between the Hilliard Ensemble and jazz saxophonist Jan Garbarek yielded the 1994 Officium, bridging the centuries with esoteric flights of saxophone improvisation above the hyper-resonant landscape of the Hilliard group singing chants and spiritual motets -- a musical nexus that nearly defies description. And these certainly do not represent the final chapter in new sounds that the Hilliard Ensemble will bring into the world. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 60 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Classical 2016
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 555937 Release Date: 06/10/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini,  Giovanni Pacini,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Antonio Pappano,  Anja [Soprano Vocal] Harteros,  Jonas Kaufmann,  Placido Domingo  ... 
    Conductor:  Marco Armiliato,  Nello Santi,  Gianandrea Noseda,  Carlo Rizzi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pygmalion,  Arcangelo,  L'arpeggiata  ... 
    CD: $16.99
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  • 2.
    Dowland & Byrd: Songs of Sundrie Natures / Hilliard Ensemble
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 554477 Release Date: 03/18/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  John Dowland,  William Byrd
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hilliard Ensemble
    CD: $12.99
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  • 3.
    Heinz Holliger: Machaut-transkriptionen
    Label: Ecm   Catalog: 002403302 Release Date: 11/06/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Guillaume de Machaut,  Heinz Holliger
    Performer:  Jürg Dähler,  Muriel Cantoreggi,  Genevičve Strosser
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hilliard Ensemble
    CD: $19.99
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  • 4.
    Arvo Part: Musica Selecta - A Sequence By Manfred Eicher
    Label: Ecm   Catalog: 002382502 Release Date: 09/11/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Arvo Pärt
    Performer:  Vladimir Mendelssohn,  Gidon Kremer,  Alexander Malter,  Keith Jarrett  ... 
    Conductor:  Tönu Kaljuste,  Saulius Sondeckis,  Dennis Russell Davies,  Andrey Boreyko
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vox Clamantis,  Hilliard Ensemble
    CD: $24.99
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  • 5.
    The Hilliard Sound - Renaissance Masterpieces
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 632795 Release Date: 04/08/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johannes Ockeghem,  Josquin Des Préz,  Orlando de Lassus
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hilliard Ensemble
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  • 6.
    Il Cor Tristo / Hilliard Ensemble
    Label: Ecm   Catalog: 001949502 Release Date: 12/10/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Roger Marsh,  Bernardo Pisano,  Jacques Arcadelt
    Performer:  David James,  Steven Harrold,  Rogers Covey-Crump,  Gordon Jones
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hilliard Ensemble
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  • 7.
    In Search of the Miraculous / Hilliard Ensemble, Louth Contemporary Music Society
    Label: Louth Contemporary Music   Catalog: 1301 Release Date: 10/08/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Siobhán Cleary,  Fazil Say,  Vache Sharafyan,  John Surman  ... 
    Performer:  Elisaveta Blumina,  Fazil Say,  John Surman,  John Feeley  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hilliard Ensemble,  EQ Ensemble
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  • 8.
    Selected Signs III-VIII
    Label: Ecm   Catalog: 001892302 Release Date: 09/03/2013   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Heiner Goebbels,  Steve Reich,  Arvo Pärt,  György Kurtág  ... 
    Performer:  Arto Lindsay,  Charles Hayward,  Ernst Stötzner,  Gidon Kremer  ... 
    Conductor:  Saulius Sondeckis,  Paul Goodwin,  Dennis Russell Davies,  Alexandros Myrat
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Steve Reich and Musicians,  Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra,  Rosamunde String Quartet  ... 
    CD: $76.49
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  • 9.
    Terje Rypdal: Melodic Warrior
    Label: Ecm   Catalog: 001873002 Release Date: 08/06/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Terje Rypdal
    Performer:  Terje Rypdal
    Conductor:  Dennis Russell Davies,  Sebastian Perlowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hilliard Ensemble,  Bruckner Orchester Linz,  Wroclaw State Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $19.99
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  • 10.
    A Year With Jesus
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 2667 Release Date: 01/08/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Francis Poulenc,  Gustav Holst  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Chance,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau,  Jacques Neilz,  Robert Veyron-Lacroix  ... 
    Conductor:  Andrew Parrott,  Philippe Herreweghe,  Harry Christophers,  David Hill  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Taverner Choir,  The Sixteen,  Seminario Musicale  ... 
    CD: $21.99
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  • 11.
    Franco-Flemish Masterworks
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 2532 Release Date: 09/11/2012   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Johannes Ockeghem,  Josquin Des Préz,  Orlando de Lassus,  Nicolas Gombert
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hilliard Ensemble
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    CD: $54.49
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  • 12.
    Gesualdo: Quinto Libro Di Madrigali / Hilliard Ensemble
    Label: Ecm   Catalog: 4764755 Release Date: 05/08/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carlo Gesualdo
    Performer:  David Gould,  Monika Mauch,  David James,  Rogers Covey-Crump  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hilliard Ensemble
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  • 13.
    Royal Manuscripts - The Genius Of Illumination / Christophers, The Sixteen
    Label: Coro   Catalog: 16098 Release Date: 05/08/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Browne,  Robert Wylkynson,  Anonymous,  Richard Pygott  ... 
    Conductor:  Harry Christophers
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen,  Hilliard Ensemble
    CD: $18.99
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  • 14.
    Part: St. John Passion / Hillier, Potter, Covey-Crump, Seers, Jones
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 4564 Release Date: 01/25/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Arvo Pärt
    Performer:  David James,  John Potter,  Rogers Covey-Crump,  Gordon Jones  ... 
    Conductor:  Paul Hillier
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hilliard Ensemble,  Western Wind Choir
    DVD: $18.99
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  • 15.
    Officium Novum / Garbarek, Hilliard Ensemble
    Label: Ecm   Catalog: 001466402 Release Date: 10/05/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Pérotin,  Komitas Vardapet,  Anonymous,  Arvo Pärt  ... 
    Performer:  Jan Garbarek
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hilliard Ensemble
    CD: $19.99
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  • 16.
    Bach: Motets / Hanover Boys Choir
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 49204 Release Date: 12/16/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hilliard Ensemble,  Hanover Boys' Choir,  London Baroque
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  • 17.
    Josquin Desprez: Motets & Chansons / Hilliard Ensemble
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 49209 Release Date: 12/01/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Josquin Des Préz
    Performer:  Nicholas Robertson,  Ashley Stafford,  Leigh Nixon,  Rogers Covey-Crump  ... 
    Conductor:  Paul Hillier
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hilliard Ensemble
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  • 18.
    Medieval English Music / Hilliard Ensemble
    Label: Harmonia Mundi Musique D'abord   Catalog: 1951106 Release Date: 02/10/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anonymous,  John Plummer,  John Forest
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hilliard Ensemble
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    CD: $8.99
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  • 19.
    Macmillan: Quickening, 3 Interludes from
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 5072 Release Date: 01/27/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  James MacMillan
    Performer:  Rogers Covey-Crump,  Robin Blaze,  Gordon Jones,  Steven Harrold
    Conductor:  James MacMillan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus,  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra,  City of Birmingham Symphony Youth Chorus  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 20.
    Riehm: Aprikosenbaume Gibt Es, Etc / Nabicht, Mikovic, Hilliard Ensemble, Et Al
    Label: Cybele   Catalog: 860701 Release Date: 01/27/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Rolf Riehm
    Performer:  Théo Nabicht,  Karmen Mikovic,  Iossif Brodsky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Recherche Ensemble,  Ensemble Ascolta,  Hilliard Ensemble
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    On sale! $25.98
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  • 21.
    Hilliard Live - The Collection [4-CD Set]
    Label: Coro   Catalog: 16064 Release Date: 10/14/2008   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Pérotin,  Léonin,  Johannes Ockeghem  ... 
    Performer:  David James,  Gordon Jones,  John Potter,  Rogers Covey-Crump
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hilliard Ensemble
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    CD: $39.99
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  • 22.
    Elemente - The Trigonale Festival of Early Music
    Label: Raum Klang   Catalog: 27051 Release Date: 04/11/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Maurizio Cazzati,  Andrea Falconieri,  Francesco Rognoni,  Tarquinio Merula  ... 
    Performer:  Christine Schornsheim
    Conductor:  Riccardo Minasi,  Giovanni Antonini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble la Fenice (France),  Ensemble Unicorn,  Hilliard Ensemble  ... 
    CD: $19.99
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  • 23.
    The Hilliard Ensemble - Highlights From Their Catalogue
    Label: Emi Laser Series   Catalog: 67118 Release Date: 02/21/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Ockeghem,  William Byrd,  Richard Strauss,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  John Potter,  Rogers Covey-Crump,  Mark Padmore,  David James  ... 
    Conductor:  Paul Hillier
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hilliard Ensemble,  Hanover Boys' Choir Members
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 24.
    Guillaume Dufay / The Hilliard Ensemble
    Label: Coro   Catalog: 16055 Release Date: 02/12/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Guillaume Dufay
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hilliard Ensemble
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  • 25.
    Music For Tudor Kings From The Time Of Henry Vii & Henry Viii
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 1015 Release Date: 01/08/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Fayrfax,  William Cornysh,  Sheryngham,  Anonymous  ... 
    Performer:  David James,  Paul Elliott,  Paul Hillier,  Martin Nicholls  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hilliard Ensemble,  New London Consort members
    Recommendation
    CD: $9.99
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