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…

Feature: Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750): Sonatas for Viola da gamba and Harpsichord BWV 1027 – 1029

Despite the fact that they’re numbered consecutively Bach’s three Sonatas for Viola da gamba and Harpsichord BWV 1027 – 1029 weren’t written as a set. In fact in some ways they’re something of a mystery indeed until recently we really knew pretty much nothing about either the circumstances or the date of their composition and…

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.…

Heinrich Schütz (1585–1672): In lectulo per noctes

From 1609 to 1613 Schütz lived in Venice where he became the pupil of Giovanni Gabrieli who he admired all his life, for both personal and musical reasons. Although his great admiration of Gabrieli in particular and the Italian school of composition in general never faded Schütz  adopted their techniques and methods only when it…