Posts Tagged ‘ English choral music ’

John Sheppard (±1515-1558): Gaudete celicole omnes

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August 24, 2015

Sheppard's setting of the devotional antiphon Gaudete celicole omnes (Rejoice everyone in heaven) was probably composed during Henry VIII's reign it's very dense very English and is remarkable for the way in Sheppard alters the vocal textures in response to  the text's flow. Enjoy :-).

mfi Click here to listen to the music and read the rest of the posting ...

Richard Dering (±1580–1630): Ave Virgo gloriosa

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August 14, 2015

Like Bull and Peter Philips Dering was an English Catholic musician who chose to live abroad so that he could practice his faith. He went first to Venice and the to Rome and for at least three years (1617-1620) he held a post as organist of the convent of English nuns in Brussels and perhaps it was this post which brought him to the notice of the French and English governments for in 1625 he was appointed organist to Charles I's new bride the French Catholic Henrietta Maria he remained at the English court until his death in 1630.  His music can be divided into two categories English and Italianate – his English music is broadly comparable to that of Gibbons, Weelkes and Ward while his Italianate music such as this gracefully written five-part (SSATB) motet in honour of The Virgin is strongly influenced by contemporary Continental fashions, which in practice means that the musical fashions percolating throughout the Catholic hearlands from Italy. I certainly wouldn't place him in the same league as Bull or Peter Philips but if you take him as he is there's much to enjoy in his music. Certainly his contemporaries, including Oliver Cromwell, greatly admired his music and both Peacham and Mace included him in their lists of musical worthies.

Ave Virgo gloriosa dates from early on in his career he first published it in 1617 in his collection of motets all of which were composed in 'first city of the world' and are heavily influenced by the new Italian Baroque style. It's a fluid and simply written piece without much in the way of contrapuntal elaboration that vividly reflects its text. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Thomas Tallis (±1505-1585)(attrib): Out from the deep

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August 3, 2015

Tallis 180 x 150Tallis was one of the composers who composed some of the earliest English anthems. Tallis is generally reckoned to have composed around forty but that's a more than somewhat misleading figure as quite a few of his English compositions are straightforward contrafacta of Latin compositions. There are also several anthems which are no believed to have been misattributed amongst which this setting of Psalm 130 Out from the deep (De Profundis) which may in fact be by William Parsons. Its text is from a metrical version of Psalm 130 and it's in the ABB format (i.e. two sections, the second of which is repeated) used by many Edwardian and early Elizabethan anthem composers. Enjoy :-)

mfi

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William Byrd (±1539-1623): Constitues eos principes

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June 2, 2015

Constitues eos principes (You will make them princes) is one of three pieces of music that Byrd composed specifically for the feast of saints Peter and Paul, he published it in the 1607 Gradualia. It's a six-part setting, confident and modern and full of energy in which the anguish we associate with the Cantiones is conspicuous by its absence. Enjoy :-)

mfi

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Thomas Weelkes (1576-1623): Give ear, O Lord

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March 20, 2015

The text of Weelkes' anthem 'Give ear, O Lord' is from William Hunnis' (d1597) collection of devotional texts 'An humble sute of a repentant sinner for mercie' it's a penitential text and there are some indications that Weelkes and Hunnis, who was master of the Chapel Royal choristers at the time he wrote it, knew one another. Its a lovely anthem, to my mind one of Weelkes' best, the motif which Weelkes used on several occasions pays tribute to Byrd while the harmonic writing is full of depth and colour and highlights how tightly woven this anthem is. Enjoy :-)

mfi

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