Philippe de Monte (1521-1603): Asperges me, Domine

De Monte was remarkable not only for the quality of his music but also for how much of it he produced. During his career he published thirty-four(!) books of mad­rig­als, thirty-eight Mass sett­ings, around 250 motets, and 144 mad­rigali spirituali. He spent most of his career working for the Hapsburgs winding up as Kapellmeist­er to…

Jacob Regnart (±1540-1599): Quare tristis es, anima mea?

Jacob Regnart’s setting of words from Psalm 42 is quite unusual in that the setting is at variance with the text. The words are meant to be reassuring but Regnart, for whatever reason. chose instead to emphasise the soul’s grief rather than God’s comfort. He starts with a disconcerting tonality which migrates almost into a…

Philippe de Monte (1521-1603): Magnificat quarti toni

Philippe de Monte is probably best known in the English speaking world for his friendship with William Byrd and the extraordinary exchange of motets between them (de Monte: Super flumina Babylonis; Byrd: Quomodo cantabimus) in which de Monte expressed his anxiety for his friend and Byrd expressed his determination to carry on. But it’s for…