Hilliard Ensemble

Hilliard Ensemble
The Hilliard Ensemble was a British male vocal quartet originally devoted to the performance of early music. The group was named after the Elizabethan miniaturist painter Nicholas Hilliard. Founded in 1974,[1] the group disbanded in 2014.[2] Although most of its work focused on music of the Medieval and Renaissance periods, the Hilliard Ensemble also performed contemporary music, working frequently with the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt and included in its concerts works by John Cage, Gavin Bryars, Giya Kancheli, and Heinz Holliger.



The ensemble's highly qualified and motivated musicians perform works dating from the 20th  and 21st centuries, from solos to larger-scale repertoire, both in concert settings and in interdisciplinary productions. Asko|Schönberg occupies an unassailable position in the arts through its enormous versatility, constant forward momentum and its ability to mirror topicality or even fly in the face of it. Collaboration between musicians and composers is a key element of its work. They examine musical and theatrical formats, techniques and possibilities through a dynamic working process that results in exciting discoveries, new insights and innovative methods of presentation. Asko|Schönberg, while respecting its 20th century heritage, is creating the repertoire of the future. The musicians are highly specialised in the performance of new music, thanks in part to their intensive collaboration with the composers.

The ensemble appears in a select number of concert halls both at home and abroad and is a regular guest at festivals in cities such as Cologne, Zagreb and Paris. In recent seasons, the ensemble has performed in South Africa, Melbourne, London, Paris, Los Angeles, New York and Jakarta.

Asko|Schönberg is the ensemble in residence at the Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ in Amsterdam.

Image Credit: 
Ada Nieuwendijk

Rundell, Clark


Clark Rundell is Director of Contemporary Music and Head of Conducting at the RNCM, and Artistic Director of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic's new music Group, Ensemble 10/10. He studied trombone and conducting at Northwestern University, Chicago, and was subsequently awarded a Junior Fellowship to study conducting with Timothy Reynish at the RNCM. He regularly conducts the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, with whom he made his début in 1987, as well as the BBC Philharmonic, BBC Scottish, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Northern Sinfonia, Hallé and the Philharmonia Orchestra, with whom he recently performed at the Royal Albert Hall.

Deeply committed to the performance of new music, Clark has given world premières of works by composers including Louis Andriessen, Django Bates, David Bedford, Sir Richard Rodney Bennett, Gary Carpenter, Adam Gorb and and Mark-Anthony Turnage.

A highly versatile musician, Clark served for fourteen years as Director of Jazz Studies at the RNCM, and has performed with artists such as John Dankworth, Bob Brookmeyer, Cleo Laine and Andy Sheppard. As an arranger, he has worked with Louis Andriessen and Mark-Anthony Turnage.

Image Credit: 
Graham Flack
  • Total duration: 50'30
  • CD | PRICE £12.99
  • MP3 | 320K 44.1 KHz
    237.0 MB
     | PRICE £7.99
  • FLAC 16 | 16bit 44.1 KHz
    210.00 MB
     | PRICE £8.99
  • FLAC 24 | 24bit 96 KHz
    947.00 MB
     | PRICE £13.99
  • Album Booklet PDF | FREE



The Hilliard Ensemble
Asko | Schönberg Ensemble
Clark Rundell conductor


Casken’s work is often inspired by literature and legend, landscape and painting and particularly by the Northumberland countryside where he lives. His compositions have won a Gramophone award, the First Britten Award for Composition, the Prince Pierre de Monaco Prize, a British Composer Award for Vocal Music, as well as shortlistings for both RPS and British Composer Awards.

The Dream of the Rood is inspired by and uses text adapted by Casken from the Anglo-Saxon poem of the same name which dramatically describes the story of the crucifixion in a highly original portrayal of Christ’s death coupled with Casken’s own arrangement of Pérotin’s Viderunt omnes, the earliest surviving vocal work of plainsong in four parts. In both arrangements, Casken introduces a large instrumental ensemble and masterfully enhances the medieval texts and music of the originals within a highly effective contemporary context. Alongside these are three pieces from the rare Conductus repertoire of the 12th/13th centuries which have been core to The Hilliard Ensemble's performing library.

This release marks the significant contribution to British music of one of its most notable vocal ensembles and one of its richest of composing voices, in work that is equally moving and dramatic.



'The Dream of the Rood (2008), [Casken's] adaptation of the Anglo-Saxon text: a captivating structure with a hint of the ritual austerity of Stravinsky's late cantatas.' Sunday Times

'[Casken] has ideal collaborators in the Hilliard Ensemble, Asko | Schönberg Ensemble and conductor Clark Rundell' The Guardian

'There is a palpable sense of the openness, and sometimes gloom, of the rugged North East of England' Financial Times

'Four male voices, precise and pure to the nth degree, topped off with a countertenor shining like a lighthouse beam over polyphony ancient and modern... a commanding performance' The Times

'A powerfully imaginative meditation on Christ's crucifixion' World Magazine

'Throughout, the close-meshed interplay of voices and instruments is unfailingly well realised... the work's plangent sense of evocation is tangibly as well as eloquently conveyed' Gramophone

'Casken's music is shadowy and richly textured... with a mysterious, archaic quality redolent of ancient landscapes and forgotten rituals' Records International

'Essential for Hilliard devotees, and if you read The Dream of the Rood in an Old English class, you may well find your memories enhanced by Casken's craggy work.'


This recording was made in Muziekgebouw aan het IJ, The Netherlands on 9 October 2014

GUIDO TICHELMAN (Azazello Classical Music Recording) Recording Producer & Editing
BASTIAAN KUIJT Recording Engineer

Schott Music
Catalogue number:
NMC D245
Release Date:
12 July 2019