James MacMillan (b1959): Miserere

James MacMillan’s glorious setting of  Psalm 50 (51)or The Miserere as it’s more often called was commissioned by the Flanders Festival Antwerp for the 2009 Laus Polyphoniae Festival and received its first performance at a concert given in the Carolus-Borromeuskerk, Antwerp, by The Sixteen conducted by Harry Christophers. It’s an eight part setting and while…

William Byrd (±1539-1623): Teach Me, O Lord

It must have been an agonising experience for Byrd to see his hopes for the five-year English Catholic renaissance of 1553–58 dashed with the death of Queen Mary. A devout, and stubborn Catholic he was to live the remainder of his life under protestant monarchs. Fortunately for him, and for us, he managed the difficult…

Advent Antiphons 2013: O Clavis David

The sources for this Antiphon Isaiah 22:22, Jeremiah 13:13; 51:19 , Matthew 4:16; 16:19, Luke 1:79, and Revelation 3:7 all deal in some way or another with the concept of holding keys. Ceremonial keys were a symbol both of authority and of stewardship in Biblical times and a symbolic key worn on the shoulder was…

Arvo Pärt (b1935): I am the true vine

Pärt  wrote this setting of John 15: 1-14 for the 900th anniversary of the foundation of Norwich Cathedral in 1996. His aim was to was recreate in music the sort of sinuous patterns that you see in vines while at the same time expressing musically the strenght of the metaphor. To do that he created…

What is the Kyriale?

I’m quite often asked what the Kyriale is. – The answer is very simple it’s a collection of eighteen Gregorian chant settings of the Mass together with six Credos and a few other chants. All of these Mass settings as well as being worthwhile listening to in their own right have been used again and…

Felice Anerio (±1560-1614): Salve Regina

Felice Anerio (±1560-1614) is the older but lesser-known of the Anerio brothers. He had a very successful musical career starting his career as a choirboy in S. Maria Maggiore before transferring to St Peter’s to sing and study under Palestrina. Following his release from St. Peter’s he held a variety of prestigious posts in Rome…

Happy Groupy: The Cardinall’s Musick 2012 – YouTube

I’m an unabashed fan of Andrew Carwood’s work with The Cardinall’s Musick so when I stay stumbled across this video in which he talks about why he founded the group and their work I found it very interesting. As a bonus the video shows them rehearsing. And before anyone asks, yes I am salivating at…