Cristóbal de Morales (±1500 –1553): Regina caeli

Like most of his Cristóbal de Morales’ motets his setting of the Marian antiphon Regina caeli  is a five-part setting. It probably dates from fairly late on in his career and in one way is fairly conventional in that it quotes the chant fairly heavily. Conventional? I’d prefer to say that it’s a great example…

William Byrd (±1539-1623): Teach Me, O Lord

It must have been an agonising experience for Byrd to see his hopes for the five-year English Catholic renaissance of 1553–58 dashed with the death of Queen Mary. A devout, and stubborn Catholic he was to live the remainder of his life under protestant monarchs. Fortunately for him, and for us, he managed the difficult…

William Mundy (±1529-1591): Vox Patris caelestis

Mundy composed Vox Patris caelestis (The voice of the heavenly Father) during Queen Mary’s reign (1553–1558) we can date it to these five years first because Mundy was too young to have written it during Henry VIII’s reign, secondly its text which is a Marian paean based upon the Song of Songs would have been…

Déodat De Séverac (1872 – 1921): Tantum Ergo

De Séverac was a native of Languedoc and its music profoundly influenced him. He entered the Paris Conservatoire as a student in 1896 but transferred to the Schola Cantorum as he disliked the rigid academicism of the Conservatoire. He studied under d’Indy, Magnard and Guilmant and learnt the piano from Albéniz. I like his music…

Juan Gutiérrez de Padilla (± 1590 -1664): Lamentation for Maundy Thursday, ‘Incipit lamentatio Jeremiae Prophetae’

For this year’s Maundy Thursday I’ve chosen Juan Gutiérrez de Padilla’s setting of Lectio I (Incipit Lamentatio Ieremiae prophetae) of the Lamentations for Maundy Thursday ‘In Coena Domini’. It’s a six-part setting and as you might expect from de Padilla it’s very traditional in tone with it’s polyphony being firmly based on the Toledo Lamentation…

Manuel Cardoso (1566-1650): Sitivit anima mea

A native of Fronteira Cardoso was sent to Évora ‘to study Grammar and the art of Music‘ under Father Cosme Delgado and Father Manuel Mendes once he had reached the age of nine. He must have greatly pleased his teachers because his career is one of rapid progression from prestigious post to prestigious post including…

Thomas Tallis (±1505-1585): Videte miraculum

The feast of the Purification or Candlemas as it is called in Britain and Ireland falls on February 2nd. Videte miraculum is the Responsory at First Vespers of the Purification  Tallis’ setting is based upon plainchant and consists of the full choir alternatim with solo or solo group – the solo portions being unoramented chant…

Felice Anerio (±1560-1614): Christe redemptor omnium

Felice Anerio’s alternatim beautiful four-voice setting of the sixth century Advent Vesper hymn Christe redemptor omnium (Christ, Redeemer of Us All) is very traditional in style. Its imitative polyphony is very close to the chant and other than at the word ‘caelum‘ avoids word-painting. It’s sung below by the choir of Westminster Cathedral conducted by…

Gioacchino Rossini (1792-1868): O salutaris hostia

When most people think of Gioacchino Rossini they tend to associate his with his lighthearted operas such the The Italian Girl in Algiers or The Barber of Seville but he also composed sacred music, including his setting of the Stabat mater and his Mass setting the Petite messe solennelle. His exquisite setting of ‘O salutaris…

Edward Elgar(1857-1934): They are at rest

Elgar wrote his choral elegy ‘They are at rest‘ was response to a commission from Sir Walter Parratt for an anthem to be sung on the anniversary of Queen Victoria’s death. The text is by Cardinal John Henry Newman (1801-1890) and it was first performed at the Royal Mausoleum at Frogmore on January 22nd 1910.…