Come each November, I seem to undergo a slow transformation; the island music which lilts across my backyard pool and the bottles of ice-cold Corona quickly give way to ancient music and dark ales as the holiday season begins to take hold. During the winter months, an idle night will often find me seated in the dining room, listening to old madrigals or ancient drinking songs of one sort or another, trying various ales out in an effort to decide what to serve at Christmas.
I've recently come across a new (to me) ensemble, New York Polyphony, which clearly has staked a claim to accompany those efforts this season. The group came together in 2006, and their debut CD, I Sing the Birth, was released on Avie Records in 2007. That disk gained universal praise, and for good reason - the group's clear, rich and engaging a capella sound is well-suited to the works they have chosen to perform. Indeed, the ensemble, which includes Tenor Geoffrey Silver, countertenor Geoffrey Williams, baritone Scott Dispensa and bass-baritone Craig Phillips takes on a wide range of music, from medieval chant to 21st-century liturgical compositions.
The group recently finished a number of Midwest and Rocky Mountain region dates in September, and is next set to appear at the First Presbyterian Church in Atlanta on November 22 and in New York City on December 12th. New York Polyphony is also set to release a CD of Elizabethan-inspired music recorded at Manhattan's Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in spring 2010.
To hear some of this great music, visit the group's website or listen on line at Lala.