Maurice Green (1696 – 1755): Lord, let me know mine end

Green was an important composer in his day his music was "generally buoyant and attractively tuneful, is thus more elegant and polished than that of almost all his immediate predecessors and contemporaries" perhaps because he wrote in a more cosmopolitan style than they did. His modern reputation has suffered mostly because Burney took against him.…

Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625): This is the record of John

Gibbons’ anthem for five voices (SAATB or ATTBB) This is the record of John is a wonderful example of  the verse anthem. It consists of solos that alternate with full choral passages in which the choir repeats the words of the preceding solo section. The writing for the soloist is almost declamatory – Timothy Dickey…

Thomas Tallis (±1505-1585): Purge me o Lord

Tallis composed this very brief anthem for Edward VI’s sternly protestant England. It’s for four voices (SATB) and in the in ABB form (in other words it’s in two sections the second of which is repeated exactly – mfi) that was so popular with Edwardian and early Elizabethan composers.  These days it’s most often sung…

Christopher Gibbons (1615 – 1676): O Bone Jesu

A Latin-texted motet is, as you might expect, quite unusual amongst Gibbons’ compositions1. It’s very beautifully and expressively written and with an very special sound-world. The soprano hovers more than an octave over the three lower voices the effect of which is heightened by sharpened interjections. I found it a very striking piece of music…

Thomas Weelkes (1576-1623): Rejoice in the Lord

The first time I heard Weelkes’ setting of verses 1, 2 and 4 of Psalm 33 (the text of verse 2 is slightly adapted) I was surprised at how severely plain and unadorned it was –  not in Weelkes’ normal style at all. It’s a Full anthem for four voices (SATB) and organ with some…

Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625): Almighty and everlasting God

Gibbons was renowned amongst his contemporaries as an organist rather than as a composer perhaps, amongst other reasons, because the amount of music he composed is relatively slight. But if ever there was a composer to whom the adage "quality not quantity" applies that composer is Gibbons. I mostly write about choral music on this…

Derrick Gerarde (fl c1540–80): Sive vigilem

Gerarde was a Flemish composer who moved to England where he worked for first Henry Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel, and then his son-in-law Lord Lumley very little is known of his life and anything you read about him is at best  speculative and at worst downright misleading. Most of his surviving music is found in…

Samuel Sebastian Wesley (1810-1876): Who can express the noble acts of the Lord? – Paul Phoenix soloist

Samuel Sebastian Wesley (1810–1876) was the illegitimate son of Samuel Wesley (1766–1837) and his housekeeper, Sarah Suter, the Sebastian part of his name is in honour of Johann Sebastian Bach whose music his father loved. Despite the stigma of being illegitimate –  which was an almost insurmountable obstacle in late nineteenth century,  Britain he became…