John Dankworth (1927-2010): Light of the World

If you know the English jazz scene you probably think of the late John Dankworth either as a brilliant jazz composer and saxophonist or as Cleo Laine’s husband but his talents were too great and too broad to be confined to any one genre. His setting of Paul Wigmore’s "Light of the world" is a…

Thomas Tallis (±1505-1585): O Salutaris hostia

The text to O salutaris hostia comes from the rite of Benediction, Tallis’ setting is freely composed – it’s completely original with no basis in the chant or other material. It’s a bit unusual in that while its scoring (SATBarB) would lead you to suspect that it’s pre-Reformation it’s style is very definitely later than…

Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (±1525-1594): Exsultate Deo

This is one of my favourites amongst Palestrina’s motets. It’s a five-part setting (SAATB) of the first three verses of Psalm 81. It’s  a bright celebratory piece of music full of word-painting to depict the musical instruments mentioned in the text. Whenever people try to tell me that Palestrina’s music is dull, cold, and lifeless,…

Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (±1525-1594): Stella quam viderant Magi – Choir of Trinity College Cambridge

The Epiphany text Stella quam viderant Magi  was frequently set by Sixteenth century composers at least twenty of whom including Josquin Desprez and Palestrina set it. Palestrina’s setting is sung here by the Choir of Trinity College Cambridge directed by Stephen Darlington during Choral Evensong from Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, 14th January 2015. I’ve put…

Thomas Tallis (±1505-1585): Miserere nostri

Miserere nostri is unusual amongst Tallis’ motets in being set for more than five parts and in following a continental double canon model rather than an English model. It’s for six voices with a seventh (tenor) voice making an appearance once for harmonic reasons. mfi

John Taverner (±1490—1545): O splendor gloriae

Taverner’s Jesus antiphon O splendor gloriae probably dates from Taverner’s later years in Boston and was most likely a commission from the Boston Guild of Corpus Christi, to Taverner he belonged. It’s composed on a very grand scale but the scale in no way detracts from the clarity of its texture. Taverner made heavy use…

Thomas Tallis (±1505-1585): O Lord Blessed be thy name

1641 was a momentous year in English and Irish history during that year Strafford the King’s right hand man was impeached by Parliament, tried, and executed. Archbishop Laud was imprisoned, Parliament passed The Triennial Act,  there was a major Irish Uprising,  and Parliament issued The Grand Remonstrance.  Less momentous perhaps but no less important from…

Edgar Bainton (1880–1956): And I Saw A New Heaven

Edgar Bainton (1880–1956) is best known as a composer of church music and is a somewhat neglected composer in England he studied under Stanford at the Royal College of Music and starting in 1901  first a teacher and then from 1912 principal at Newcastle-upon-Tyne’s Conservatoire.  In 1914 he travelled to Bayreuth for the festival when…