Michael East (±1580 – 1648): Hence stars too dim of light

Michael East was a prolific Elizabethan and Jacobean madrigalist and composer of religious music. His music was popular during his lifetime and very widely published in particular his madrigals which are very Italianate in style.  ‘Hence stars too dim of light’ which you can hear below was his contribution to The Triumphs of Oriana –…

Philippe Verdelot (±1480-±1530): Ultimi miei sospiri

Perhaps because a collection of his madrigals was the first ever printed Philippe Verdelot is considered by some as the inventor of the madrigal. I’m not sure I’d go quite that far but  he was certainly the early 16th century’s  most important and innovative composer of Italian madrigals. He was born in France but his…

Thomas Weelkes (1576–1623): The Ape, The Monkey and The Baboon

Weelkes was best known to contemporaries as a madrigalist and published several volumes. The  Ape, the monkey and the baboon was one of his last compositions and was published in 1608 in Ayeres or Phantasticke Spirites for Three Voices. It’s surprisingly difficult to find good recordings of it but this performance by The Alley Barbers…

Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643): Confitebor tibi Domine

For this setting of Psalm 111 Monteverdi re-used parts of his madrigals Dolcissimo uscignolo and Chi vol haver felice published in 1638 in his Eighth Book.  The syllabic word-setting and fluctuating musical pulse that you can hear throughout means that it’s in the French vers mesuré style or at least it’s in that somewhat staid…

Francisco Guerrero (1528-1599) Dum esset rex – YouTube

Francisco Guerrero’s short but very beautiful setting of "Dum esset rex" has a madrigal-like quality that I find quite enchaanting. He wrote it "in festo Sancta Mariae Magadalenae, 22 Julii" (for the feast of Saint Mary Magdalen, on July 22nd). It’s performed here by The Cardinall’s Musick under their conductor Andrew Carwood. Enjoy :-). markfromireland