Benedicta et venerabilis es (plainchant)

The Gradual for the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary sung here by Cappella Pratensis directed by Stratton Bull using medieval Latin pronunciation with the singers grouped around one book as they would have been during medieval times. This is about as close to hearing the chant sung they it was sung when it was…

William Byrd (±1539-1623): Circumdederunt me

The tessitura of Byrd’s surprisingly continental sounding five-part (ATTBB) setting of Circumdederunt me the text of which is adapted from Psalm 17 verses 5-7  in the Vulgate moves ever upwards becoming ever more intense until we come to his pleas O Domine, libera animam meam (O Lord, free my soul) at which point the music…

William Byrd (±1539-1623): Da mihi auxilium

I’ve written about Byrd’s six-part setting of a text from Psalm 107 before that posting featured a performance by The Cardinall’s Musick under Andrew Carwood, it’s a fine performance as is this somewhat different perfomance by I Fagiolini under Robert Hollingworth which is well worth hearing not only in its own right but also by…

Nicolaus Craen (±1440-1507): Tota pulchra es

Although much of his life and music are now sunk in obscurity his contemporaries greatly admired this Southern Netherlands composer. He spent the last six years of his life as the sangmeester of the Confraternity of Our Lady in ‘s-Hertogenbosch and it’s known that the chapter of St Donatian, Bruges made at least one attempt…

Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625): Almighty and everlasting God

Gibbons was renowned amongst his contemporaries as an organist rather than as a composer perhaps, amongst other reasons, because the amount of music he composed is relatively slight. But if ever there was a composer to whom the adage "quality not quantity" applies that composer is Gibbons. I mostly write about choral music on this…

Jean Lhéritier (±1480—±1552): Miserere mei, Domine

Jean Lhéritier is reputed to have been one of Josquin’s students although the only evidence for this comes from the fact that a contemporary – Giovanthomaso Cimello said he was one of Josquin’s followers. If Lhéritier did have any direct contact with Josquin then it can only have taken place in France during Josquin’s term…

Jacob Handl (1550–1591): Missa Super Sancta Maria

Despite his relatively short life, Handl musical output was vast around five hundred works known to be by him survive most of these are religious works and the overwhelming majority of them three hundred and seventy four motets scored for between four and twenty-four voices are to be found in his four volume Opus musicum.…