Ēriks Ešenvalds (b1977): Psalm 67

Ešenvalds setting of Psalm 67 was premiered by Stephen Layton and Polyphony in Amsterdam in 2012  a very traditional Anglican chant sounding baritone solo is responded to by the full choir singing a very chordal setting of the text. It’s very chromatic writing which shifts and mixes mood between praise and apprehension. The chant melody…

William Byrd (±1539-1623): Tribue Domine

When Queen Mary died the Catholic Church as the spiritual home of the English people rapidly followed her into the grave. No doubt the more strongly protestant wing of the reformers hoped that the practice of setting Latin texts to music for religious purposes would quickly become a thing of the past and had Edward…

Tourdion

A "Tourdion" was a medieval dance similar to a Gavotte the name "Tourdion" is derived from the French verb meaning "to twist" this particular medieval dance was very popular but fell out of favour until it was revived as a drinking song  that was popularised by Pierre Attaignant,  1  Attaignant knew a good song when…

Giaches de Wert (1535-96): O sacrum convivium

De Wert’s setting of the Antiphon for Second Vespers at Corpus Christi is an overlooked but fascinating piece of music that gives us an insight into this High Renaissance composer whose music deserves to be ranked alongside that of Willært, de Lassus, and Palestrina. It’s a stately piece of music setting a liturgical text based…

William Byrd (±1539-1623): Oculi Omnium

Byrd’s four-part (ATTB) setting  of Oculi Omnium which was prescribed as the Gradual & Alleluia for Corpus Christi & Votive Mass of the Blessed Sacrament was published in the 1605 Gradualia of (vol. 2, no. 2), it’s a very direct setting of the text that moves to three voices at ‘Aperis tu manum tuam …’…

Orlande de Lassus (1532-1594): Tristis est anima mea

His setting of Christ’s meditation in the Garden of Gethsemane from the Gospel of St Matthew is one of de Lassus’ most dramatic narrative motets. Lassus takes the text which is taken from the words Jesus spoke to his disciples just before his arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane and uses all his skill in…