Tallis in Wonderland

Tallis in Wonderland explores ten Renaissance works of genius, finding musical and dramatic routes in to their magical but complex soundworld. Sometimes the pieces are de-constructed and then recreated; sometimes the sound is spread around the hall via speakers or the singers themselves. The whole becomes a game for singers and loudspeakers, the entire space the sound’s playground. The audience is at times surrounded by sound and performers, and at times focused on an intimate moment.

Not one aural effect, not one staged movement distracts – and that is something of a small miracle. Schut exploits the ears’ unique ability to assimilate many layers of sound simultaneously and, in doing so, creates space for the individual imagination. The Times

This project came about through a wish from conductor Robert Hollingworth to make Renaissance polyphony more accessible: to conceive a way for the audience to be much more aware of the individual lines that make up the polyphony so that they can sense the whole structure, and also for them to be much more aware of the meaning of the text. In collaboration with Henk Schut this idea developed through many further layers before the show premiered in 2009.

Featured music by Josquin, Gombert, Manchicourt, Byrd,
Tallis, Rore, Palestrina, Gesualdo and Monteverdi.
Singers from the I Fagiolini ensemble
Direction & installation design – Henk Schut
Sound & software design – Steve Mensink
Created in collaboration with I Fagiolini.
YouTube trailer: Tallis in Wonderland