Robert White (±1538-1574): Magnificat

When Morley, was writing his A Plaine and Easie Introduction to Practicall Musicke (1597) he listed White as one of the greatest English composers saying that he was equal to de Lassus and included him in a list of seven eminent Tudor composers that included "Fayrfax, Taverner, Sheppard, Whyte, Parsons and Mr Byrd." Whenever I…

Nicolaus Craen (±1440-1507): Tota pulchra es

Although much of his life and music are now sunk in obscurity his contemporaries greatly admired this Southern Netherlands composer. He spent the last six years of his life as the sangmeester of the Confraternity of Our Lady in ‘s-Hertogenbosch and it’s known that the chapter of St Donatian, Bruges made at least one attempt…

Jean Lhéritier (±1480—±1552): Magnificat

The first public performance in modern times of Jean L’Heritier’s Magnificat. Recorded live at the St. John Nepomucene Chapel at Sarny Castle, Aug 29, 2015. Performed by Men’s Vocal Ensemble Gregorianum, conducted by Berenika Jozajtis. This is a rarity amongst Lhéritier ‘s surviving works most of which arecomparatively short motets. Rarity or not like all…

Beatam me dicent – Antiphona ad communionem

This communion antiphon is sung here as it would have been sung in Venice during a Marian Mass, that is a Mass offered within the framework of a liturgy set out for a Marian feast day. The chant in this case is taken from the Commune Festorum B. Mariae Virginis which set out the liturgically…

Antoine Brumel (±1460 — ±1513): Sicut lilium inter spinas

His contemporaries ranked Brumel’s music highly comparing him favourably with both Josquin and Ockeghem. His four-part (SATB or ATTB) setting of Sicut lilium inter spinas (As the lily among thorns) Song of Solomon 2: 2 which at that time was the Antiphon for Matins of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is quite typical…

Jacquet of Mantua (1483-1559): Ave Maria

Jacquet of Mantua was born Jacques Colebault in Vitré, Brittany, in 148 he’s referred to as Jacquet of Mantua to distinguish him from another composer Jacquet de Berchem. He was yet another northerner who went south to Italy where he worked for a variety of patrons amongst the Rangoni of Modena, the Estes, until in…

Feature: Alessandro Grandi (±1586 – 1630): Salve Regina

This wonderful setting of the Salve is a particularly fine example of what a talented composer does when confronted with artistic restrictions. Grandi was one of those composers who flourished in Venice during Monteverdi’s time and in his shadow. He’d held posts as a maestro di capella in Ferrara, and had previously sung and studied…

Huw Morgan (born 1975): Alma Redemptoris Mater

The Merbecke Choir under their director Huw Morgan singing Morgan’s setting of the Marian antiphon Alma Redemptoris Mater. I’ve put the text and a translation below the video. Enjoy :-). mfi Alma Redemptoris Mater Alma redemptoris mater, quae pervia caeli porta manes et stella maris: succurre cadenti surgere qui curat populo. Gracious mother of the…

Robert White (±1538-1574): Tota pulchra es

When Robert White died at the age of thirty six during one of the many outbreaks of plague that London was subject to at the time Robert Dow made a copy of all his motets and added this epitaph ‘Greatest glory of our muses, White: you perish, but your muse remains for ever’ nor was…

Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548-1611): Regina caeli laetare a 8

De Victoria’s eight-part (SATB SATB) setting of the Marian antiphon Regina caeli laetare has a distinctly celebratory character it was intended to be sung at Vespers and Compline from  Easter  Sunday to  the  week  after  after Pentecost. I don’t know when it was composed but I think it must be from his Roman period when…

Johannes Ockeghem (±1410 –1497): Salve Regina

Ockeghem’s reputation during his lifetime was, as Timothy Dickey puts it, ‘stellar’ he was equally admired by his fellow musicians and his patrons amongst whom were numbered no less than three kings of France. His setting of the Salve which you can hear below with its dense and inventive polyphony woven around the chant melody…