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:: Ensembles & Performance

The Gavin Bryars Ensemble

John Potter has worked with Gavin Bryars since the Hilliard Ensemble commissioned Glorious Hill in 1980. More recently he joined the GB Ensemble for programmes of Madrigals and Laude. A first CD of Laude is now available and further recordings will appear in the future. Current projects include the multimedia Laika’s Galaxy, and the Sonnets Project. See Diary for details of forthcoming concerts.

Gavin Bryars: Oi me Lasso BCGBCD05


Hilliard Ensemble


John rejoined the Hilliard Ensemble for a recording of Roger Marsh’s three pieces written for the HE Summer School in 2001 (his last with the group) and also for a special collaboration with Trio Mediaeval. The 8 voice ensemble has had concerts in the Bergen Festival and the Fränkische Sommer in Nürnberg, featuring a new work by Andrew Smith.


Ciconia Ensemble

John Potter’s latestventure is an ensemble dedicated to the music of the late 14th/eary fifteenth centuries, especially the so-called Ars Subtilior, that uniquely difficult and wonderful music that flourished briefly in France and northern Italy. The group consists of Anna Maria Friman (soprano), John Potter (tenor), Suzanna Pell and Jacob Heringman (lutes & vielles) and made its debut in York in 2006. The group will doconcerts in Germany in the summer, and for recitals of sacred music will be joined by the Trio Mediaeval’s Linn Andrea Fuglseth.












John Potter with Ambrose Field (live electronics): Being Dufay

John Potter with Ambrose Field (live electronics):  Being Dufay

John Potter and Ambrose Field have been collaborating on a recording based on the music of Guillaume Dufay. John has provided the source material – his voice and Dufay’s notes – which Ambrose has used to fashion an electro-acoustic composition. The result – called Being Dufay – will be finished in the spring and will eventually be available on CD and as a live event. The latter will consist of John singing and Ambrose re-mixing. The live programme will last about an hour and can very easily be adapted to any existing sound system.


Red Byrd

Red Byrd believes that the point of singing the music of the past is to illuminate the present. Its constant members are John Potter and Richard Wistreich, who are joined by other singers and instrumentalists with a strong grounding in early music to explore song old and new.

Its first concert, in the Musikfest Bremen in 1989, ranged from Monteverdi to Frank Martin and John Paul Jones, and in 1990-91 it toured Britain with both early and contemporary programmes. Since then it has visited the USA, Canada, Ireland, Spain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy and Finland.

In 1993 it gave the first performance of Ivan Moody’s Passsion And Resurrection with the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir at the Tampere International Choir Festival, Finland. It later recorded the work with Cappella Amsterdam for Hyperion, adding to recordings of music by Monteverdi, Blow and Purcell with the Parley of Instruments on that label; the group has also made several recordings on Virgin Classics and Naxos. In 1998, Red Byrd’s first Léonin recording, Magister Leoninus, was made a disc of the year by the French magazine Diapason and BBC Music Magazine. A second CD of music by Léonin came out in 2001, and the group’s latest release (described as ‘absolutely stunning’ by BBC Music Magazine) is A Scottish Lady Mass – Sacred Music from Medieval St Andrews. Broadcasts for BBC Radio 3 have ranged from music by Landini, Palestrina and Purcell to John Cage, Thea Musgrave, Nigel Osborne and John Surman.

The group is hibernating at the moment as John and Richard have been busy finishing books. Richard will spend most of 2007 researching in Chicago so there are no concerts currently in the diary. Red Byrd contributes a number of tracks to Roger Marsh’s Pierrot Lunaire double CD which is out in April. The new Anglo-German line-up is ready to fly in 2008 (and was recently billed as ‘a supergroup made up of former members of the Hilliard Ensemble, the Consort of Music, Singer Pur and Cantus Köln’).


A Scottish Lady Mass: Sacred Music from Medieval St Andrews Hyperion CDA67299


Magister Leoninus: Sacred Music from 12th century Paris Hyperion CDA 66944


Magister Leoninus II Hyperion CDA 67289 (2001)


Tomkins: Consort Music Naxos 8.550602 (1995)


Gibbons: Songs & Anthems Naxos 8.550603 (1994)


Byrd: Songs & Anthems Naxos 8.550604 (1994) (also Naxos sampler Classic CD 14)


New fashions: Cries & Ballads CRD 3487 (1992)


Elizabethan Christmas anthems Saydisc CD-SAR 46 (1990)


Morley: Joyne Hands Virgin VC 7 91214-2 (1991)


Monteverdi: Balli & dramatic madrigals Hyperion CDA 66475 (1991)


Blow: Awake My Lyre Hyperion CDA 66658 (1993)


Purcell: Hark how the wild musicians sing Hyperion CDA 66750 (1994)


Ivan Moody: Passion & Resurrection Hyperion CDA 66999 (1997)


Songs of Love & Death Factory FAC 336 (1990)


Gibbons: Cries and Fancies Virgin VC 7 90849-2 (1989)

The Sound & the Fury

For the last three years John Potter, Richard Wistreich and Thomas Bauer have met in Bressanone (Brixen) to perform and record the music of Gombert. Brixen (in northern Italy) is twinned with Thomas Bauer’s home town of Regensburg and the group, expanded by up to six other German singers, has been known as the Vokalsolisten Ratisbona. The mixture of live concert and rehearsal recordings has produced two CDs for ORF, and on the current release the ensemble found itself renamed The Sound and the Fury. Two more CDs are now complete and the group will reassemble in Vienna in September to record two Ockeghem masses, also for ORF.

These projects have been supported by the artists Muntean and Rosenblum, whose great love and knowledge of Gombert and Franco-Flemish music has touched all of us.


Media Vita (Gombert, Brumel etc) ORF CD 333

Paradise Regained ORF CD 463