João Lourenço Rebelo (1610 – 1661): Super Aspidem

João Lourenço Rebelo’s music represents the coming of Baroque to Portugal. Born in 1610 in Caminha he was taken as a boy servant into the chapel of the Duke of Bragança at Vila Viçosa. The Duke sponsored his musical studies including at the Colégio dos Santos Reis Magos under Roberto Tornar. Another of Tornar’s pupils…

Sunday Playlist: Henry Purcell (1659-1695): Love’s Goddess Sure was Blind – The Sixteen, The Symphony of Harmony and Invention

‘Love’s Goddess Sure was Blind’ the ode for Queen Mary’s Birthday, 1692 is Purcell’s fourth birthday Ode for Queen Mary II. It’s perhaps the most tender and intimate of the six birthday Odes and is scored strings and paired recorders. It starts with one of Purcell’s finest symphonies which is in two sections and characterised…

William Mundy (c1529-1591): Sive vigilem

William Mundy (father of John Mundy) seems to have lived and worked only in London. His career spanned the Reformation under Henry VII and Edward VI, Queen Mary’s doomed and bloody attempt at undoing the Reformation, and Queen Elizabeth I’s re-establishment of the English Church with herself as its head. His motet "Sive vigilem" is…

John Sheppard (c1515-1558): Jesu salvator saeculi verbum

Jesu salvator saeculi, verbum is a hymn composed by the Tudor Era English composer John Sheppard (c1515-1558) for what was called "Low Sunday". "Low Sunday" is the first Sunday after Easter, nobody is quite sure where the name came from but the traditional explanation that the name indicates the contrast between it and the great…

Thomas Crecquillon (c1505-c1557): Congratulamini mihi

Thomas Crecquillon’s (c1505-c1557) motet ‘Congratulamini mihi’ ("Rejoice with me") is his musical depiction of Mary Magdalene’s encounter with the risen Christ. It was greatly admired by Francisco Guerrero (1528-1599) who based one of his Masses upon it. Perhaps it’s difficult for us who live in a culture where most people place emphasis on a thoroughly…

John Sheppard (c1515-1558): Paschal Kyrie – The Sixteen

Sheppard’s Pascal Kyrie is one of my favourite pieces of Easter music. I love it’s combination of serenity and exultation marvellously captured in this performance by The Sixteen conducted by Harry Christophers. markfromireland: Kyrie Text & Translation: Greek English Kyrie eleison. Kyrie eleison. Kyrie eleison. Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy. Christe…

John Sheppard (c1515-1558): Ave maris stella

Ave maris stella is a Marian Hymn intended to be sung at First Vespers of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Like most that remains of John Sheppard’s (c1515-1558) music it’s drawn from the Offices of the major feasts in the liturgical year. The backbone of the piece is the chant which moves forward in long note…

John Taverner: Gaude plurimum

To judge from the number of surviving copies of Taverner’s Marian Antiphon "Gaude plurimum" – and their wide distribution, Taverner’s contemporaries thought very highly of it. Marian antiphons such as this were devotional that is they were intended to be sung outside of (usually after) the Office (service) for which they were written. In this…