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Leaders In Early Music Face A Final Curtain, With Grace

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Since 1973, the four-man vocal chamber group The Hilliard Ensemble has been breathing new life into the sounds of the Renaissance. Now that they've reached their 40-year anniversary, the members have decided to call it a day. Fresh off the new album Il Cor Tristo, the Hilliards will spend 2014 celebrating their long tenure with one last world tour. Then, a year from now, it's all over.

Only one man has been with The Hilliard Ensemble this entire time: counter-tenor David James. In an interview with NPR's Arun Rath, James recounts the excitement of being at the vanguard of early music in the 1970s, and explains how the bond between the four members made it impossible for the group to end in anything but a clean break. Hear their conversation at the audio link.

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