Henry Purcell (1659-1695): O praise the Lord, all ye heathen

We don’t know exactly when Purcell composed this short verse anthem but it must have been before December 1681 because it’s one of the anthems copied out in the York ‘Gostling’ partbooks by Stephen Bing and Bing died during the month of December 1681. It’s quite an Italianate piece written for two tenors with minimal…

John Rutter (Born 1945) As the bridegroom to his chosen

The Tewkesbury Abbey Schola Cantorum, conducted by Benjamin Nicholas performing John Rutter’s setting of John Tauler’s anthem ‘As the bridegroom to his chosen’. I like this anthem a lot, it’s got a very nice melody which can be easily mastered by most choirs, it’s deceptively plain – as you listen you can hear how Rutter…

Henry Purcell (1659-1695): O consider my adversity Z32

Purcell seems to have composed the verse anthem ‘O consider my adversity (Z32)‘ relatively late in his career. It takes its text from eight verses of Psalm 119 setting them mostly for solo trio. It’s a surprisingly large-scale work that Purcell starts by having each voice sing the opening phrase over a descending continuo line…

Thomas Tallis (±1505-1585): If ye love me

Although his sympathies were firmly Catholic Tallis wrote anthems for the reformed rites prescribed by Edward VI’s  First Prayer Book of 1549. Edward who Like all the Tudors was fond of music was an ardent Protestant. His government required church music to support the Anglican church’s exhortations to Godly living and to enchance the greater…

John Rutter (b. 1945): A crown of glory

Rutter’s choral music has its roots firmly in the English choral tradition, of Holst, Vaughan Williams, Howells, Britten and Tippett, ‘spiced with the harmonic and melodic language of Fauré and Duruflé’. He composed A crown of glory in response to a commission by the Worshipful Company of Feltmakers of London for the 62nd Annual United…

Henry Purcell (1659-1695): O Lord, thou art my God

O Lord, thou art my God is another one of the anthems Purcell composed between 1680 and 1682 the manuscript for which is to be found in Purcell’s own hand in Cambridge University’s Fitzwilliam Museum’s MS 88. It starts with a solo bass passage praising God that has a particularly good series of roulades on…

Thomas Weelkes (1576-1623): O Jonathan

Despite the fact that there was at first no provision within the Prayer Book and that unlike the situation that obtained before the reign of Edward VI (January 28th 1547 – July 6th 1553) no provision was made for ‘Propers’ – texts relating to a specific feast day or season of the year, musical forms…