John Taverner (±1490–1545): Audivi vocem de caelo

Taverner’s setting of this responsory takes its text from Matthew 25: 4-6. At first sight it’s a standard alternatim setting in which the chant alternates with polyphony in which it can also be heard as a cantus firmus but its original scoring is somewhat unusual in that it was originally scored for high voices only…

John Sheppard (±1515-1558): Æterne Rex altissime

The hymn Aeterne Rex altissime (Eternal king most high) is rather more than a thousand years old. It was first cited by the Saxon monk, theologian and poet  Gottschalk of Orbais (808 AD -867 AD) and included the 9th-century New Hymnal.  Sheppard’s setting would have been intended to be sung at Vespers on Ascension Day,…

Felice Anerio (±1560-1614): Regina caeli laetare (a8)

Anerio’s eight part setting of this Marian Antiphons is a perfect example why his contemporaries considered him to be a worthy successor to Palestrina as official Papal composer. It combines beautiful flowing polyphony combined with homophonic passages and shifts in timing. As you might expect from Palestrina’s successor the textual clarity is impeccable throughout. Enjoy…

Robert Ramsey (fl c1612-1644): In monte Oliveti

Ramsey’s madrigal-anthem probably dates from around 1615 and was written for private devotions rather than the liturgy. It’s a six-part setting that with its harmonic tensions, repetitions, and use of declamation and and dissonance can sound surprisingly modern to our ears. Enjoy :-). mfi

Robert Ramsey (fl c1612-1644): When David heard

Ramsey was probably born at some time during the 1590s but the first reliable record we have of him is at Cambridge from 1612. He seems to have spent his entire adult life at Cambridge taking a B.Mus in 1616 and being appointed or­gan­ist at or­gan­ist of Tri­n­ity Col­lege, Cambrid­ge from 1628 until his death…

Walter Lambe (±1450 – ±1500): Stella cæli

Lambe’s contemporaries considered him to  be an important composer his music is heavily represented in the Eton Choirbook we don’t know much about his career he’s most likely the Walter Lambe who was elected scholar of Eton College on 8 July 1467, and who moved to Arundel to take up a clerkship in the collegiate…

Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548-1611): Magnificat Sexti toni

Victoria published no less than eighteen Magnificat settings which range from sumptuous polychoral antiphonal works such as this triple choir (SATB + SSABar + SATB) setting to the restrained and elegant four-part setting. I mention the four part setting because both the opening verse and ‘Deposuit potentes’ are taken directly from that setting which was…

Richard Davy (±1465-1538): Salve Regina

Davy was one of the first of the new generation of English composers who flourished under the Tudors. His setting of the Salve is free-composed throughout making no reference to the chant. It’s very distinctly English and quite unlike anything that his contemporaries in Italy, France or theLow Countries would have composed.  There’s a sweetness…

John Blow (1649 – 1708): I will hearken

The collapse of the Puritan regime and the restoration of the Stuart monarchy under Charles II in 1660 meant an immediate change in the style of government. Charles’ government immediate priority was restoring those institutions of state that the Puritans had destroyed and that included the Chapel Royal which had been a vital centre of…

Edmund Turges (?1450-????): From stormy windes

I can tell you very little about Edmund Turges we don’t know where or when he was born – although London around 1450 is a reasonably good guess. We know that he was admitted to the London parish clerks’ company of the Fraternity of St Nicholas between 1468 and 1470 and we know that his…