Gemma nitens

The source of Gemma nitens (O shining jewel) is a manuscript in the archives of Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge, (MS 512), it’s a two part piece in honour of The Virgin composed for the feast of The Annunciation and in its time would have been one of many pieces of music dedicated to her…

Ola Gjeilo: Second Eve

Who better to tell us about Second Eve than the composer himself? In some of my pieces, the text is somewhat more the servant of the music than the other way around, and Second Eve is one of those works. The music is mainly inspired by a breath-taking photography taken by one of my favorite…

Thomas Tallis (±1505-1585): Nunc dimittis a 5

This five-part (SAT[Bar]B) Latin-texted setting of the Song of Simeon is found only in the Baldwin partbooks. The fact that it’s in Latin presents problems for musical historians with tidy minds because, being in Latin, he surely wouldn’t have composed it during Edward VI’s sternly protestant reign when composers with Catholic sympathies were keeping their…

Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625): This is the record of John

Gibbons’ anthem for five voices (SAATB or ATTBB) This is the record of John is a wonderful example of  the verse anthem. It consists of solos that alternate with full choral passages in which the choir repeats the words of the preceding solo section. The writing for the soloist is almost declamatory – Timothy Dickey…

Thomas Tallis (±1505-1585): Purge me o Lord

Tallis composed this very brief anthem for Edward VI’s sternly protestant England. It’s for four voices (SATB) and in the in ABB form (in other words it’s in two sections the second of which is repeated exactly – mfi) that was so popular with Edwardian and early Elizabethan composers.  These days it’s most often sung…

Jean Mouton (±1459–1522): Quis dabit oculis?

When I wrote about Mouton’s career in my posting dealing with his motet Factum est silentium in caelo (see: Feature: Jean Mouton (before 1459-1522): Factum est silentium in caelo | Saturday Chorale – mfi) I explained that his career had "consisted of  a variety of posts in provincial cathedrals until 1502 when he joined the…

Vocal Line – Hyperballad and Pendulum

It’s been a while since I posted any of the  Danish choir Vocal Line’s work. Whether it’s their covers of other artists songs such as Björk’s Hyperballad which you can hear below or their singing of new choral music such Morten Kjær’s – Ørehænger "Soulful Scandinavia" series the standard of singing is always extremely high.…