Jacquet de Mantua (1483-1559): O Jesu Christe

This setting of O Jesu Christe, or O Jesu Christe Miserere Mei  (O Jesus Christ, have mercy on me) to give it its full title was often attributed to Jacquet de Berchem but is now known to be by Jacquet de Mantua. It’s a four-part (SATB) motet whose personal nature – have mercy on me…

Cipriano de Rore (c1515-1565): Fratres: Scitote

The second of two five-part motets by De Rore that take their text from the writings of St. Paul  Fratres: Scitote  (Brothers: Know this) sets 1 Corinthians 11: 23-24  in which Paul recounts how during the Last Supper Jesus instituted Holy Communion by taking bread, blessing it, and distributing it. The motet is a bit…

Gerald Finzi (1901-1956): Haste On, My Joys!

Haste On, My Joys! is the sixth in the series of seven songs setting poems by Robert Bridges. It’s a five-part setting (SSATB) written shortly after Finzi stopped teaching harmony at the Royal Academy of Music in London. With its very energetic part-writing and rhythmic writing Finzi’s music reflects the youthful exuberance of the first…

William Byrd (±1539-1623): O gloriosa Domina

O Gloriosa Domina is the second half of the hymn Quem terra, pontus, aethera composed by Venantius Fortunatus (530-609), Bishop of Poitiers. Both were sung during the Little Office of The Virgin which, as I wrote on May 16th, 2016 in my posting on Quem terra, pontus, aethera remained wildly popular with Catholics during Byrd’s…

Gerald Finzi (1901-1956): Nightingales

Of one thing we can be certain; what Hanslick called ‘the morganatic marriage of words and music’ is the least destructible of all musical elements. The marriages may be happy or unhappy, but, surely as birds must sing, so long as words exist and man is capable of feeling, there will be song. —Gerald Finzi,…