The Tallis Scholars (Dec. 6)

Seventy-two albums, 1,750 concerts—the Tallis Scholars (about to mark their 40th anniversary) have established themselves as the world’s leading performers of Renaissance music. Their Christmas concert delivers several choral gems, including a pair of “Magnicat” settings (one Spanish, one German) that frame the evening and Orlandus Lassus’s extraordinary double-choir mass, Osculetur Me. But perhaps most interesting is the London-based group’s departure from its usual historical programming to explore the work of 20th-century Estonian composer Arvo Pärt—whose work, centuries later, does reflect a Renaissance mentality in the clarity and simplicity of its polyphony. José Verstappen, artistic director of Vancouver’s Early Music Society, first saw the Scholars in concert 20 years ago—at Utrecht, the mother of all early music festivals—and has been bringing them to town every few years since. “At Christmastime,” he notes, “there’s a tradition of going into the past. This is part of that. It’s very accessible and beautiful music you’re going to hear. Twelve voices, each with their own melody, and they occasionally anchor together in one fantastic chord. This group is so in tune it’s simply extraordinary to hear.”