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New York Polyphony

New York Polyphony

Male Choral Quartet from New York City, NY.

Members: Christopher Dylan Herbert, Craig Phillips, Steven Caldicott Wilson, Geoffrey Williams
Former Members: Geoffrey Silver

Praised for a "rich, natural sound that's larger and more complex than the sum of its parts," (National Public Radio) New York Polyphony is regarded as one of the finest vocal chamber ensembles in the world. The four men, "singers of superb musicianship and vocal allure," (The New Yorker) apply a modern touch to repertoire that ranges from austere medieval melodies to cutting-edge contemporary compositions. Their dedication to innovative programming, as well as a focus on rare and rediscovered Renaissance and medieval works, has not only earned New York Polyphony critical acclaim, but also helped to move early music into the classical mainstream.

Group History


Songbooks, Arrangements and/or Media

Displaying 1-5 of 5 items.


New York Polyphony : Sing Thee Nowell : 00 SACD : BIS2099SACD

New York Polyphony : Sing Thee Nowell

The holiday season generally abounds with similar-sounding releases, but the year 2014 brought an unusually fresh crop including this release from the vocal quartet New York Polyphony, excellently recorded by BIS at a boychoir chapel in Princeton, New Jersey. The group follows the common procedure of including music from the Middle Ages to the present day, but they push the boundaries at each step with a distinctive sound that flirts with, but does not adopt, the textures made famous by the Swingle Singers. This has a revelatory effect in Philippe Verdelot's Gabriel Archangelus, a work that does not sound like much when dutifully sung by a cathedral choir. Many pieces are grouped by Christmas subtheme -- Annunciation, Epiphany, Advent, and Nativity -- and the program is cannily put together to show ideas refracted through the music of various periods. For many, though, the chief attraction will be the impeccably close harmonies of New York Polyphony, and that kind of sheer skill rarely coexists with such programming sophistication. An ideal gift for someone who likes a cappella, small group polyphony.

Songlist: Veni Emmanuel, Adam lay ybounden, Gabriel archangelus, Gabriel archangelus, There is no rose of swych vertu , There is no rose (based on the tune Hereford) , There is no rose, Nesciens mater, O pia virgo, Nowell: Out of your sleep, Nowell: Arise and wake, 5 Carols, Sleep Now, O Magnum Mysterium, Quem pastores laudavere, Quid petis, O Fili?, Un flambeau, Jeanette, Isabelle, Bethlehem Down, Magi veniunt, O Little Town of Bethlehem

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22245c | SACD | $19.95


New York Polyphony : endBeginning : 00 SACD : 1949

New York Polyphony : endBeginning

'My end is my beginning, and my beginning my end' - with those words the four members of New York Polyphony end a programme which explores the themes of grief, loss and mortality. Apart from the closing paraphrase by Jackson Hill (b.1942) on Guillaume de Machaut's famous 14th century rondeau Ma fin... and two examples of plainsong, all works included on endBeginning, the ensemble's first disc on BIS, were composed by masters of the Franco-Flemish school of polyphony active in the first half of the 16th century. The music was partly used liturgically, for instance Brumel's Mass for the Dead, which incorporates the first known polyphonic setting of the text Dies irae, 'Day of Wrath' as its extensive centre piece. Similarly the Lamentations by Crecquillon, a setting which is possibly appearing on disc for the first time, would have been used in churches during Holy Week, with the destruction of Jerusalem as mourned by the prophet Jeremiah standing as a symbol of the Passion of Christ. The two Gregorian chants Libera me and In paradisum both form part of the Roman Catholic burial service, the first a prayer for the soul's delivery from eternal death and the second an evocation of the hereafter. Of a more subjective nature, the two texts Absalon fili mi ('Absalom, my son') and Tristitia obsedit me - Infelix ego ('Sadness has besieged me - Alas, wretch that I am') have moved their respective composers to settings of rare intensity. Formed in 2006, New York Polyphony is establishing a reputation as an exceptionally fine vocal chamber ensemble, and has been praised for a 'rich, natural sound that's larger and more complex than the sum of its parts'

Songlist: Missa pro defunctis; Libera me, Domine , Lamentationes Jeremae, Tristitia obsedit me - Infelix ego, Absalon fili mi; In paradisum, Ma fin est mon commencement

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2077c | SACD | $18.95 | A Cappella


New York Polyphony : I Sing the Birth : 00  1 CD : 2141

New York Polyphony : I Sing the Birth

New York Polyphony is rapidly gaining a reputation as one of the finest new classical vocal ensembles. Fusing elegant vocalism with expert ensemble singing, its four male voices consistently deliver dynamic performances of music spanning nearly a millennium in a range of styles, combining historically-informed interpretive style with their own unique artistry. From the simplicity of plainchant to the dense chromaticism of contemporary works, the New York Polyphony sound is unified, energized and distinctive. The musical landscape traversed on this disc of music for the Advent and Christmas season is broad, from 12th century conductus to a 21st century carol, though the musical center is firmly polyphonic and rooted in the late Medieval world. The group is joined by a women's trio in several works written for more than four parts. The sound is clean and present, with appropriate resonance for this material. For the listener looking for a collection of contemplative Christmas music that steers clear of the most obvious selections and introduces intriguing new repertoire, as well as for the fan of early music vocal ensembles, this album has much to offer.

Songlist: Veni Redemptor gentium, Hodie Christus natus est, Hodie Christus natus est, Puer natus est nobis, Lully, lulla, thou little tiny child, Beata viscera, Ave Maria Mater Dei, Alma Redemptoris mater, The darkest midnight in December, The Fader of Heven, Vox in Rama, Vox in Rama, Vox in Rama, Away in a manger, Ave Maria, Coventry Carol, Ave Maria, Lullay, lullow, I saw a swete semly syght, Mervele noght, Josep, Nowell: Dieus wous garde, byewsser, Veni Redemptor gentium, O magnum mysterium, Ecce advenit dominator Dominus, Magi veniunt ab oriente, Nunc dimittis, Vox in Rama

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8761c | 1 CD | $16.95 | A Cappella


New York Polyphony : Times Go By Turns : SACD : 7318599920375 : BIS2037SACD

New York Polyphony : Times Go By Turns

Times go by Turns is the highly anticipated follow-up to New York Polyphony's endBeginning (2012). Nominated for a GRAMMY in the Best Chamber Music/ Small Ensemble Performance category, the album features Masses by Thomas Tallis and William Byrd, as well as an enigmatic three-voice Mass setting by medieval English composer John Plummer. Three new works written for New York Polyphony by composers Gabriel Jackson, Andrew Smith, and the late Sir Richard Rodney Bennett complete the sequence.

Songlist: Mass for Four Voices (Byrd), Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei, Colloquy with God , Missa Sine Nomine, Kyrie: Cunctipotens Genitor Deus , Mass for Four Voices (Tallis):, Ite missa est

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4014c | SACD | $21.95


New York Polyphony : Tudor City : 00  1 CD : 822252218626 : 2186

New York Polyphony : Tudor City

Classical vocal quartet New York Polyphony struck a chord with their 2007 Avie debut, I Sing The Birth (AV 2141). It was an Editor's Christmas Choice in BBC Music magazine, and Classic FM awarded it five stars. For their second release, the all-male foursome delivers their signature fusion of historically informed performances in a range of styles. Interspersed among sacred masterpieces of Tudor England are four new works by British-Norwegian composer Andrew Smith, adding a modern harmonic richness and complexity to the album. The result is a compelling synthesis of ancient and contemporary vocal music.

Songlist: Ave Verum Corpus, Gaude Virgo Mater Christi, Flos Regalis, Flos Regalis, O Come In One To Praise The Lord, Expend, O Lord, My Plant of Word, Surrexit Christus, Stella Caeli, Speciosa Facta Es, Audivi Vocem, Why Fum'th in Fight, To Mock Your Reign, Man Blest No Doubt, God Grant With Grace, Magnificat A 4, Magnificat A 4, In Pace

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4268c | 1 CD | $15.95 | A Cappella

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