Voices weave around me as I sit at a table with a group of singers in a pristine rehearsal room in Wharf 4/5, where vocal ensemble The Song Company now has a permanent home, the Renaissance harmonies ringing in my head. The singers – Ensemble Artists, from the company’s young artist program – are singing from partbooks written by the English composer Robert Dow. There’s no complete score, so each singer reads their part with only ears and instincts to indicate what their colleagues might be doing, while I follow along as best I can with the obscure (to my eyes) 16th-century notation.

Antony Pitts and The Song Company Antony Pitts and The Song Company. Photo courtesy of The Song Company

“I’ve also done this with my British group Tonus Peregrinus,” Artistic Director Antony Pitts tells me later over coffee at the end of the wharf, past Sydney Theatre Company’s refurbished digs. “We did it in a chateau in France a year and a half ago, just with ourselves and families and friends, and it was extraordinary. And I want to...