The go-to guide for early music


The Telling

Inclusive... non-pretentious... I really wish all “classical” concerts were like this”
Attila the Stockbroker on our Christmas concert in Worthing 2018 in The Morning Star

The Telling attempts to break new ground, where new writing and music collide. We are also known for our special intimate performances of carols and performances of medieval and renaissance music.

In 2022, The Telling was shortlisted for two REMA Awards and was selected for the BBC/ACE funded The Space Pitch Perfect scheme to receive mentoring and develop Love in the Lockdown to pitch for national BBC radio.

Our most recent show, I Spie (2021), starring Dominic Marsh, Danny Webb and Alice Imelda, toured the UK and was released on film. It tells the little known story of composer John Dowland and his brush with the Elizabethan secret service.

Pre-pandemic, in 2019/20 we undertook 28 performances & 4 public workshops. We have performed at Buxton International Music Festival, Music at Oxford (3 performances) Little Missenden Festival, Brighton Early Music Festival (4 performances), Keele Concerts Society, Kingston Early Music, Totnes Early Music Society – and working with other groups including The Sixteen, we spearheaded our own Liverpool Early Music Festival.

The Telling leads the way in delivering online workshops - delivering weekly singing sessions for over a year throughout the 2020/21 lockdowns which participants described as a “lifeline”:
“I found myself in tears as I realised it was the first time in many years I'd actually been able to sing a carol”
Workshop participant

We record for First Hand Records: our first CD Gardens of Delight was selected for BBC Music Magazine playlist for April 2019 and our second CD Secret Life of Carols reached #25 in the Classical Charts in December 2019. David Mellor called it his "absolute favourite" 2019 Christmas Album and it was in The Guardian, BBC Music Magazine, The Daily Mail and Classic FM's “Best Christmas Albums” lists.

"imaginative and eclectic"
The Guardian, Fiona Maddocks on Secret Life of Carols CD

"Siren-like voices ... an ardour to these performances that is hard to resist."
BBC Music Magazine on Gardens of Delight CD

“unexpected delight from beginning to end, and really strongly recommended”
David Mellor, Classic FM/Daily Mail on Secret Life of Carols CD

Our most recent CD consists of the soundtracks of the Vision and Unsung Heroine concertplays, released in memory of Ariane Prüssner, and received a four-star review from BBC Music Magazine:
"austere, serene and highly evocative"
BBC Music Magazine on Vision and Unsung Heroine Soundtracks

During 2020/21, The Telling received critical praise for their online arthouse films of concertplays. Most notably, Vision by Clare Norburn, which follows the extraordinary medieval Abbess Hildegard of Bingen played by Teresa Banham (RSC/Shared Experience), was selected by The Guardian’s Tim Ashley as one of the Top 3 online summer music highlights alongside the Salzburg and Edinburgh Festivals.

​"Norburn and mezzo Ariane Prüssner are mesmerising in the music."
The Guardian, Tim Ashley

Love in the Lockdown also by Clare Norburn, starring Alec Newman & Rachael Stirling, is an online play with music, rehearsed and filmed entirely over Zoom or on actor & musicians' recording devices from their own homes. It was shortlisted in 6 categories for the SceneSaver Awards at which Nicholas Renton won Best Director.

"an exploration of the boundaries between art & life ... intelligent … does more than reflect overfamiliar pandemic situations back at us ... it finds new terrain"
The Guardian, Arifa Akbar

Share this
Past programmes