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…