John Browne (fl c1480–1505): Stabat iuxta

To my mind Browne is perhaps the greatest English composer of the period between Dunstaple and Taverner. Certainly his contemporaries rated him very highly, his polyphony is dense, intricate, and based upon carefully worked out mathematics, and the Tudor era elite loved that sort of thing. Perhaps that’s why he was appointed as one of…

Philippe de Monte (1521-1603): Magnificat quarti toni

Philippe de Monte is probably best known in the English speaking world for his friendship with William Byrd and the extraordinary exchange of motets between them (de Monte: Super flumina Babylonis; Byrd: Quomodo cantabimus) in which de Monte expressed his anxiety for his friend and Byrd expressed his determination to carry on. But it’s for…

Johann Adolf Hasse (1699–1783): Salve regina

Hasse is one of those Baroque composers whose music was enormously popular during his lifetime but which sank almost without trace within years of his death. It’s a pity because his music is often beautifully lyrical with great care and attention lavished upon making it very singable. Hasse himself was a professional singer which explains…

John Taverner (±1490-1545): Ave Maria

When Cardinal Wolsey founded Cardinal’s College in 1524 (the College which is now Christ Church, Oxford) the statutes governing the college prescribed the singing of antiphons and hymns during the evening devotions which took place at seven o’clock in the evening after Compline. Three years later in 1527 Wolsey revised the statutes for the college…