This preview has been provided by Duke Performances.

Duke Performances presents Britain’s Tallis Scholars — the world’s premiere Renaissance-era choral specialists — in a special presentation in Duke Chapel on Sunday, April 1, at 5 pm.  The ensemble will perform Field of the Cloth of Gold, a program of remarkable and historically significant compositions by French composer Jean Mouton and English composer William Cornysh. 

Between the 7th and 24th of June in 1520 in fields near Calais, took place one of the most peculiar political summit meetings of all time.  Henry VIII of England and Francis I of France met to seal a treaty of friendship between their two warring countries, and the event was set as a grand celebration of both of these two rich cultures.  Everything was carefully prepared to make the surface seem smooth, yet there was an undercurrent of intense rivalry, from the negotiations of high state, to the wrestling, the food, the jousting, and, of course, the music.

The two royal choirs were in attendance, each attempting to out-sing the other. As luck would have it the ensembles were led by two exceptional composers of the period, composers to whom the Tallis Scholars have devoted individual recordings: Jean Mouton on the French side, and William Cornysh on the English.

Field of the Cloth of Gold presents compositions from this exciting and unusual meeting, created by two of the finest Renaissance choral masters of the day. 

The Tallis Scholars were founded in 1973 by their current musical director, Peter Phillips. Through their recordings and concert performances, they have established themselves as the leading exponents of Renaissance sacred music throughout the world.  Peter Phillips has worked with the ensemble to create the purity and clarity of sound which he feels best serves the Renaissance repertoire, allowing every detail of the musical lines to be heard.  It is the resulting beauty of sound for which the Tallis Scholars have become so widely renowned.

The many accolades that the Tallis Scholars have received include three Early Music Awards from Gramophone magazine for the Tallis Scholars’ recordings of Palestrina’s Missa Assumpta est Maria and Missa Sicut lilium in 1991, recordings of music by Cipriano de Rore in 1994, and for their disc of music by John Browne in 2005.

One of the most recognizable and cherished landmarks on Duke’s campus, Duke Chapel was built in 1925 from a design by architect Julian Abele, the first African-American architect to achieve wide renown.  The chapel’s soaring ceilings and flying buttresses are made from volcanic stone from a quarry in Hillsborough, North Carolina. 

This special concert begins at 5 pm and is part of Duke Chapel’s Palm Sunday celebrations.

Tickets available by contacting the University Box Office by phone at 919-684-4444 or in person in the top level of Duke’s Bryan Center on West Campus, Monday to Friday, 11 am to 6 pm.  Tickets also available online at