Feature: Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741): Stabat mater RV621 — Soloist: Francisco Javier Rodríguez Braojos, Escolanía del Escorial

Vivaldi’s setting of Stabat Mater for Alto and strings is one of his earliest religious works and may even be the earliest.It commissioned by Santa Maria della Pace in Brescia in 1711 for their patronal festival and received its first performance on March 18th 1712 during the Feast of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed…

Robert Fayrfax (1464-1521): Magnificat Regale

Shortly after he was crowned Henry VIII made clear that Fayrfax stood high in his favour by awarding him the sum of £9 2/6 (nine pounds two shillings and six pence) to be paid on top of Fayrfax’s salary from the Chapel Royal. We don’t know when Fayrfax composed this setting of the Magnificat to…

Bayan Northcott (born 1940): Salve Regina

Bayan Northcott was born in Harrow on the Hill north west London in 1940 he read English at Oxford receiving a BA in 1962 and then worked as an English teacher for six years between 1964 and 1970. Musically self-taught he went to the University of Southampton where he studied composition under Alexander Goehr and…

Franchino Gaffurio (1451 – 1522): Salve Regina

Gaffurio is now remembered as a scholar and a theoretician rather than as a composer. He was very influential during his lifetime and for about a century after. He stands out as an Italian at a time when the choirs and musical ensembles of the courts, colleges, and cathedrals were dominated by composers from the…

Dresdner Kreuzchor: "Es kommt ein Schiff geladen" (Max Reger)

"Es kommt ein Schiff, geladen" (A laden ship is coming ), is a rather beautiful medieval Advent chorale and Marian hymn ascribed to Johannes Tauler (c.1300-1361). I believe it originated in the Strasbourg region – certainly that’s where the first manuscript containing it is from. Like many such hymns  (another example is "Maria durch ein…

Edvard Grieg (1843-1907): Ave Maris Stella

Grieg composed his setting of the Vespers hymn to Mary Ave Maris Stella (Hail Star of the Sea) in December of 1898. The first setting that he wrote was as a solo song for his cousin the soprano Nina Hagerup but at some time during the following year he changed his mind and rewrote it…

David Bevan (b1951): Magnificat quarti toni

David Bevan was born in 1951 as a schoolboy he was educated at Westminster Cathedral Choir School and Downside. He won an open scholarship to The Queen’s College, Oxford, and has held various teaching posts , including Assistant Master of Music at Westminster Cathedral, and has been Director of Music at the Church of Our…

Alonso Lobo (1555-1617): Ave Maria

Lobo’s eight-part setting of the Marian antiphon Ave Maria is one of seven motets that he published in 1602 while employed at Toledo Cathedral. It’s an astounding piece of music that’s based on a scheme of complex 8-in-4 canonical writing in which the lower voices of two SATB choirs sing the same music but the…