Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548-1611): Regina caeli laetare a 8

De Victoria’s eight-part (SATB SATB) setting of the Marian antiphon Regina caeli laetare has a distinctly celebratory character it was intended to be sung at Vespers and Compline from  Easter  Sunday to  the  week  after  after Pentecost. I don’t know when it was composed but I think it must be from his Roman period when…

Peter Philips (1560-1628): Ave Regina cælorum

Peter Philips’ setting of the Marian antiphon Ave Regina cælorum (Hail, Queen of heaven) was published in his Cantiones Sacræ of 1612. It’s a five-part (SSATB) setting very much in the new Roman style. The five-voice structure meant that he could vary the texture at will to reflect words or phrases in his text coupled…

Manuel Cardoso (1566-1650): Missa Miserere mihi Domine

Miserere mihi, Domine, et exaudi orationem meam. Have mercy upon me, O Lord, and hearken unto my prayer. The  penitential chant Miserere mihi, Domine is the Psalm antiphon for Sunday Compline, Cardoso set this Mass using it as the Cantus Firmus. As with other Portugese sacred polyphony from the first half of the seventeenth century…

Thomas Tallis (±1505-1585): Miserere nostri, Domine

The phrase "Miserere nostri, Domine" (Have mercy on us Lord) appears twice in the Liturgy once as  the third verse of psalm 122 and again as the second last verse of the Te Deum. The phrase itself is an alternative form of the more familiar Miserere nobis found in the ordinary of the Mass. It’s…

Edward Bairstow (1874–1946): Save us, O Lord

Bairstow started out as a teacher but in 1893 he took up a post combining the duties of pupil and amanuensis to Frederick Bridge at Westminster Abbey. From there he progressed through various posts as organist and choirmaster until eventually taking up the post of organist in of York Minster in 1913 a post he…

Thomas Tallis (±1505-1585): Jesu salvator saeculi

Tallis’ setting of the compline hymn Jesu salvator saeculi (Jesus, saviour of the age) is an alternim setting that alternates the chant and composed music retaining the cantus firmus in the top part. Under Sarum usage it would have been sung between low Sunday and Ascension it’s typical of the new style of hymnody pioneered…

Thomas Tallis (±1505-1585): In manus tuas

Tallis’ setting of the Compline respond is quite typical of his Elizabethan Latin Church music, it’s beguiling in its simplicity and its beauty. Tallis’ solution of what to do with this piece that could not be performed liturgically was elegant – he turned it into a motet. markfromireland

John Sheppard (c1515–December 1558): Media Vita

Sheppard’s music is not as popular as that of his contemporaries – I think this is a shame as he’s right up there alongside his better-known contemporaries Taverner, Tye, White, and even Tallis. If you want to hear Tudor era music of breathtaking beauty and originality then Sheppard’s compositions surely fit the bill. Media Vita…

John Taverner: Gaude plurimum

To judge from the number of surviving copies of Taverner’s Marian Antiphon "Gaude plurimum" – and their wide distribution, Taverner’s contemporaries thought very highly of it. Marian antiphons such as this were devotional that is they were intended to be sung outside of (usually after) the Office (service) for which they were written. In this…