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…

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…

Nicolaus Craen (±1440-1507): Tota pulchra es

Although much of his life and music are now sunk in obscurity his contemporaries greatly admired this Southern Netherlands composer. He spent the last six years of his life as the sangmeester of the Confraternity of Our Lady in ‘s-Hertogenbosch and it’s known that the chapter of St Donatian, Bruges made at least one attempt…

Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625): Almighty and everlasting God

Gibbons was renowned amongst his contemporaries as an organist rather than as a composer perhaps, amongst other reasons, because the amount of music he composed is relatively slight. But if ever there was a composer to whom the adage "quality not quantity" applies that composer is Gibbons. I mostly write about choral music on this…

Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (±1525-1594): O rex gloriae

We’re fortunate to have Palestrina’s setting of the Magnificat Antiphon at Second Vespers on the Feast of the Ascension which this year falls today May 5th. It’s a four-part setting (SATB) and was originally published by Gardano at some point during 1563 in the Motecta festorum totius anni cum Communi Sanctorum … liber primus that…

John Taverner (±1490–1545): Audivi vocem de caelo

Taverner’s setting of this responsory takes its text from Matthew 25: 4-6. At first sight it’s a standard alternatim setting in which the chant alternates with polyphony in which it can also be heard as a cantus firmus but its original scoring is somewhat unusual in that it was originally scored for high voices only…

Feature: Thomas Tallis (±1505-1585): Sancte Deus

In early Tudor England composers produced four main types of church music: Masses, Magnificats, Votive antiphons Smaller liturgical pieces From this we know that Tallis would have composed this votive antiphon for four voices (SATB) during Henry VIII’s reign but before the Reformation. It must have been fairly popular because it was set both by…