Skip Main Navigation
Page Content
This event has ended

Save This Event

Event Saved

Chalice Consort Presents "By the Waters of Babylon" - 11/7/09

Chalice Consort

Ticket Information

Ticket Type Price Fee Quantity
General Admission 11/07/09 at St. Paul's Episcopal, oakland 8pm concert ($20 at door) $18.00 $0.00
Seniors (65+) 11/07/09 at St. Paul's Episcopal, SF 8pm Concert ($15 at door) $13.00 $0.00
Students (must show ID at door) 11/07/09 St. Paul's Episcopal, SF 8pm concert ($10 at door) $8.00 $0.00

Share Chalice Consort Presents "By the Waters of Babylon" - 11/7/09

Event Details

Chalice Consort will open its 2009 season with music by William Byrd (c.1540-1623) in November; directed by our guest director, Davitt Moroney.

“By the Waters of Babylon” is a provocative program of choral pieces by the greatest English composer of the late Renaissance, William Byrd (c.1540-1623). Although Byrd continued writing for the Protestant Anglican Church as part of his official court functions as a Gentleman of Queen Elizabeth I's Chapel Royal, he remained a Roman Catholic in private, at a time when this personal choice was becoming increasingly dangerous. 

These works illustrate with beautiful and highly passionate music many of the historical issues that were being played out at that time, including religious fanaticism, oppression of minority communities, questions of faith and conscience, and political issues church and state, many of which are being replayed in different ways and from quite different perspectives around the world today, in America, in France and Britain, in Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, etc. The crisis of communication between extremist Catholics and Protestants in the sixteenth century was just as strong as the present one between, for example, some extremist Christians and Muslims. Byrd's music reminds us there was a narrow middle way at a time when oppressive tyrannical actions were hidden under the mask of state religion, and private religious beliefs often caused feverish believers to engage in acts of terrorism, and when caught to be tortured and executed.

The pieces in this concert occupy the middle ground between secular and sacred, being mostly non liturgical religious texts set to music primarily for private enjoyment at home. The evening begins with with the only secular piece in the program, placed as an invocation to the power of Music. It is taken from the well-known collection of Psalms, Songs and Sonnets.  We then trace Byrd's public conformity and official acceptance of the state religion imposed by Queen ELizabeth; and his private music of political protest, in his motets of lamentation and outrage, which gave voice to an oppressed community who often saw themselves as martyrs for their religion. The program ends with serene pieces from Byrd's private mission of solace in comfort of the berieved and in memory of those who had died.

At the very center of the concert is "Why do I take my paper ink and pen?", a work Byrd published despite its highly dangerous associations; he here composed music to a poem written by Henry Walpole that recorded the persecution and execution of Edmund Campion, a Jesuit priest who was executed in 1581 (supposedly for treason, but in reality for his religious beliefs), a gesture that started a wave of persecution of Catholics in England. In a move reminiscent of the modern Taliban, the Protestant state also ordered the hands of the poem's printer to be chopped off. But a few years later Byrd bravely published this extraordinary musical setting. All of the pieces in this concert are exceptionally powerful, both musically and emotionally. This is a concert not to miss, of music that cannot be forgotten.

~Davitt Moroney

Tickets: $20 general admission, $15 seniors, $10 students. $2 discount for advance online purchase

November 6, 2009 - 8 p.m.
Old First Presbyterian Church
1751 Sacramento Street, San Francisco, CA 94109
At the corner of Sacramento St. & Van Ness, San Francisco
Parking: Old First Parking Garage on Sacrament between Polk and Van Ness
Tickets - 

November 7, 2009 - 8 p.m.
St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Oakland
116 Montecito Ave, Oakland, CA 94610-4598
At the corner of Montecito Ave & Bay Pl., just off Grant Ave, Oakland

Have questions about Chalice Consort Presents "By the Waters of Babylon" - 11/7/09? Contact Chalice Consort


Chalice Consort

Chalice Consort collaborates with early music scholars and musicians in helping little-known works from the Renaissance and early Baroque eras become more widely appreciated by the modern music-loving public. The Consort pays special attention to the verbal texts and to the music's rhetorical force, as well as to acoustics. Its performances also take into account the various concepts of stylistic decorum that were strongly articulated by humanist writers in the Renaissance and provide an essential part of the context in which these repertoires were composed, performed, and first appreciated. Chalice Consort aims to communicate the emotional power of this music to modern listeners.

  Contact the Organizer
Chalice Consort Presents "By the Waters of Babylon" - 11/7/09
Performance Arts

Please log in or sign up

In order to purchase these tickets in installments, you'll need an Eventbrite account. Log in or sign up for a free account to continue.