Thomas Weelkes (1576–1623): Hosanna to the Son of David

This is a remarkably powerful piece of music that confirms were such a confirmation necessary that Weelkes was an outstandingly talented composer. It’s an evocation of Matthew 21:9 in which the Evangelist depicts the crowd’s reaction to Christ’s entry into Jerusalem. You can hear their enthusiasm which Weelkes underscores by repeating their initial cry of…

William Byrd (±1539-1623): Non vos relinquam (SSATB)

Non vos relinquam is one of the motets from the 1607 Gradualia. It’s a five-part setting (SSATB) whose simple and flowing style conceals some very complex counterpoint. Whenever I listen to it I marvel at how Byrd wove the alleluias into the fabric of the piece and how he manages to portray the Apostles’ mixed…

William Byrd (±1539-1623): Plorans Plorabit

Byrd’s five part (SAATB) setting of verses seventeen and eighteen from Jeremiah 13 was published in the 1605 Gradualia. It’s a bit unusual in that unlike most of the content of the 1605 gradualia  it’s not a liturgical motet. Further more its text was manifestly chosen as a reference to  the situation of the English…

William Byrd (±1539-1623): Nunc Dimittis from the Great Service

Byrd’s settings for the Great Service took Anglican music forward from its hesitant and somewhat experimental phase into somewhat more splendid territory. He probably wrote the Magnificat (about which I wrote last Friday see: William Byrd (±1539-1623): Magnificat from the Great Service | Saturday Chorale) and the Nunc Dimittis last it’s beautiful music which manages…

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…

Herbert Howells (1892–1983): Regina caeli

This is the third four ‘Anthems of the Blessed Virgin Mary’ that Howells composed for the choir of Westminster Cathedral in 1916. For  some strange reason they were never published during his lifetime and only came to light in 1988 when the manusicript copy was rediscovered. I’ve not yet managed to hear it sung in…

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,’…

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…

Frederick Arthur Gore Ouseley (1825–1889): O Saviour Of The World – Choir of King’s College Cambridge, Easter 2014

Sir Frederick Arthur Gore Ouseley’s  (1825–1889) music is largely unknown today. Ousely was born into the upper echelons of Victorian Britain’s ruling class, his father was Ambassador to Russia, the Dukes of York and Wellington were his godfathers, he was a musically precocious child who composed his first opera at the tender age of eight.…