Saturday Chorale: Byrd – Senex puerum portabat

Byrd’s four-part anthem Senex puerum portabat was published in 1607 in the second book of Gradualia. It’s a beautifully expressive piece of music in which Byrd manipulates the vocal lines to convey the joy felt both by Simeon and by the Virgin Mary. Thus at the end of the first line – "Senex puerum portabat", …

Chilcott: The Shepherd’s Carol We stood on the hills, Lady

Bob Chilcott’s The Shepherd’s Carol was composed for the 2000 Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols at King’s College, Cambridge. It’s a thoroughly modern piece that takes Chilcott’s original melody repeating and enhancing it from verse to verse spinning a beautiful web of choral music as it does so. It’s quality speaks, or rather sings,…

Palestrina: O magnum mysterium

Palestrina’s six-part motet "O magnum mysterium" was published in Rome in 1569 as part of  a collection of motets, for five, six and seven voices. It’s a six-part motet that Palestrina wrote for Christmas – the Feast of the Nativity and is both a beautiful piece of music and a marvellous example of his skill.…