Thomas Tallis (±1505-1585): Derelinquat impius

Derelinquat impius (May the unrighteous) takes its text from Isaiah and was the fifth Respond at Matins on the First Sunday in Lent. Andrew Carwood describes it as "surprising and unsettling because of the peregrinations of the opening bars" with some "eyebrow-raising melodic moments".  But surely that was the entire point? Tallis rarely, very rarely,…

Thomas Tallis (1505-1585): Lamentations of Jeremiah I & II

I’ve always thought of the two sets of Lamentations as Tallis’ most personal music. The text is from that set for Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday) but Tallis plainly had no intention of setting them so that they could be used liturgically. He did something far more radical which is that he turned something which was…

William Byrd (±1539-1623): Tribulatio proxima est

Byrd’s penitential motet Tribulatio proxima est (Tribulation is near ) was published in the Cantiones Sacrae of 1591 and takes its text from Psalms 21 and 69 respectively. As you might expect of Byrd the music serves to portray the text so we have a strong outcry at the plea for justice (vindica me), twisted…

Thomas Tallis (±1505-1585): Miserere nostri

Miserere nostri is unusual amongst Tallis’ motets in being set for more than five parts and in following a continental double canon model rather than an English model. It’s for six voices with a seventh (tenor) voice making an appearance once for harmonic reasons. mfi

Manuel Cardoso (1566-1650): Missa Miserere mihi Domine

Miserere mihi, Domine, et exaudi orationem meam. Have mercy upon me, O Lord, and hearken unto my prayer. The  penitential chant Miserere mihi, Domine is the Psalm antiphon for Sunday Compline, Cardoso set this Mass using it as the Cantus Firmus. As with other Portugese sacred polyphony from the first half of the seventeenth century…

Attr. John IV, King of Portugal (1604–56): Crux Fidelis

Crux Fidelis is the eight verse of the hymn beginning Pange lingua (‘Sing, my tongue’) by Saint Venantius Honorius Clementianus Fortunatus (c530-c609). It’s sung on Good Friday during the Adoration of the Cross, during Holy Week, and during feasts of the Church honouring The Cross. This setting which was first published in Paris in 1843–5…

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