Adrian Willaert (±1490-1562): Mittit ad virginem

Willært’s setting of  this sequence hymn for The Annunciation, the text of which is by Abelard was published in Venice in 1559 as part of his "Musica Nova" – the newness in this case refers to the fact that these motets had never been published before. It’s a calm and beautifully harmonised setting whose restrained…

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…