John Blow (1649-1708): Let thy hand be strengthened

James II and his Queen Mary of Modena were crowned in Westminster Abbey on 23 April 1685, St George’s Day. Blow’s four-part (SATB) setting of the coronation anthem Let thy hand be strengthened would have been sung by the scholars of Westminster School to greet the arrival of the Queen after the Vivats. It’s sung…

Thomas Tallis (±1505-1585)(attrib): Out from the deep

Tallis was one of the composers who composed some of the earliest English anthems. Tallis is generally reckoned to have composed around forty but that’s a more than somewhat misleading figure as quite a few of his English compositions are straightforward contrafacta of Latin compositions. There are also several anthems which are no believed to…

John Dunstable (± 1390-1453): Beata Dei genitrix

The English guise they wear with grace They follow Dunstable aright, And thereby have they learned apace To make their music gay and bright. English composers had considerable influence in the late Middle Ages and Renaissance perhaps the most influential was Dunstable of whom Martin le Franc wrote that Guillaume Du Fay and Gilles Binchois,…

Henry Purcell (1659-1695): How Happy the Lovers

This chorus is from Act IV the semi-opera King Arthur, or The British Worthy (1691) the libretto was by John Dryden. It’s a wonderfully sensual and rich piece of  music into which Purcell wove tutti, solos, male and female voices, and duets. It’s very French you can hear that Lully’s Passacaille d’Armide impressed Purcell. During…