William Mundy (±1529-1591): Vox Patris caelestis

Mundy composed Vox Patris caelestis (The voice of the heavenly Father) during Queen Mary’s reign (1553–1558) we can date it to these five years first because Mundy was too young to have written it during Henry VIII’s reign, secondly its text which is a Marian paean based upon the Song of Songs would have been…

Wesley: Praise the Lord, O My Soul — Choir of York Minster

The Choir of York Minster, under the direction of Robert Sharpe and accompanied by David Pipe, offer a live recording of Samuel Sebastian Wesley’s 1861 anthem ‘Praise the Lord, My Soul’ at the 16, July 2014 service of Choral Evensong. Wesley’s large-scale anthem for choir and organ, which concludes with the oft-excerpted ‘Lead Me, Lord,’…

Francisco Guerrero (1528-1599): Regina caeli a 8

His contemporaries thought so highly of Guerrero that during Philip II’s reign he was hailed as Spain’s foremost composer. His compositional skills were based upon his musical gifts he not only sang but was an excellent player of the organ, vihuela, harp and cornett.  Later generations weren’t so enthusiastic with musicologists and music historians tending…

John Sheppard (±1515-1558): Libera nos, salva nos I

Although the text of Libera nos, salva nos is from the first antiphon at Matins on Trinity Sunday its  plea to to the Holy Trinity for freedom, redemption, and absolution is so general in tone that Sheppard’s setting which most probably dates from his time at Magdalen College, Oxford was used on other occasions not…

William Child (1606-1697): O praise the Lord

William Child is largely forgotten today and when musicologists do discuss his music they tend to dismiss it as unimaginative and utilitarian. I very much doubt though that that is what his contemporaries and his successors, who included Blow and Purcell thought. We may today be grateful for our rich inheritance of music from Blow,…

Déodat De Séverac (1872 – 1921): Tantum Ergo

De Séverac was a native of Languedoc and its music profoundly influenced him. He entered the Paris Conservatoire as a student in 1896 but transferred to the Schola Cantorum as he disliked the rigid academicism of the Conservatoire. He studied under d’Indy, Magnard and Guilmant and learnt the piano from Albéniz. I like his music…

Felice Anerio (±1560-1614): Magnificat quinti toni

Felice Anerio (the elder of the two brothers) had a very successful musical career starting as  a choirboy at Santa Maria Maggiore and at St Peter’s where he studied under Palestrina. He went on to be maestro di capella  at the Spanish Santa Maria di Monserrato and the English College before being appointed composer to…

John Amner (1579-1641): Sing O Heavens

This glorious seven-part anthem, Sing, O heav ‘ns  (SSAATBB) is a perfect example of the richness and sonority that typified early seventeenth-century English anthems. I wonder if its scoring meant that Amner felt he couldn’t divide the tenor line. Or perhaps he wrote it with the stunning acoustic of Ely Cathedral’s Lady Chapel in mind,…