John Dunstable (± 1390-1453): Beata Dei genitrix

The English guise they wear with grace They follow Dunstable aright, And thereby have they learned apace To make their music gay and bright. English composers had considerable influence in the late Middle Ages and Renaissance perhaps the most influential was Dunstable of whom Martin le Franc wrote that Guillaume Du Fay and Gilles Binchois,…

Guillaume de Machaut (±1300-1377): Inviolata Genitrix

Guillaume de Machaut continues to be acknowledged to this day as the most significant French poet and composer of the fourteenth century [I wrote about him here: Sunday Feature: Guillaume de Machaut (c1300-1377): – Messe de Nostre Dame – Ensemble Gilles Binchois dir. D. Vellard | Saturday Chorale – mfi]. He was both a poet…

Philippe de Monte (1521-1603): Ne timeas, Maria

Philippe de Monte (1521-1603) was an extraordinarily prolific composer. Anglophones mostly know of him because of his friendship with William Byrd and the resulting motets dealing with the oppression of Catholics under English rule. But this was only one episode in an extraordinarily productive career he published no less than thirty-four(!) books of madrigals,  thirty-eight…

Felice Anerio (±1560-1614): Regina caeli laetare (a8)

Anerio’s eight part setting of this Marian Antiphons is a perfect example why his contemporaries considered him to be a worthy successor to Palestrina as official Papal composer. It combines beautiful flowing polyphony combined with homophonic passages and shifts in timing. As you might expect from Palestrina’s successor the textual clarity is impeccable throughout. Enjoy…

Matthaeus Pipelare ( ±1450 — ±1515): Salve Regina

Pipelare’s setting of the Salve is an alternatim setting in which only the even-numbered verses are set. I think it must be a relatively early work because of its rhythmic use of syncopated short notes it’s a surprisingly varied setting that makes use of the old-fashioned technique of varying dense imitative writing with multipart passages.…

Inviolata, integra, et casta es Maria – Kantorei of Kansas City

The KSCI Concert Chorale directed by guest clinician, Dr. Ryan Board of Pepperdine University. Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, KC MO. Chant, transcribed by Dr. Board. This eleventh century plainchant sequence for the Ladymass dealing with Mary’s immaculate person was particularly popular  with sixteenth century composers amongst them Josquin and Gombert. I’ve added the text…

Peter Philips (1560-1628): Regina Caeli laetare

The Regina Caeli is one of four Marian antiphons traditionally said or sung after compline. It is said throughout Eastertide –  the fifty day period from Easter Sunday to Pentecost, and during that period can be said in place of the Angelus. Philips’  setting while it is for two choirs is more Roman than Venetian…

William Byrd (±1539-1623): Felix es, sacra Virgo

Byrd published this beautiful setting of the Alleluia at Mass for the Nativity of the Virgin  in 1605 in the first volume of Gradualia. He had a very specific agenda which was to set music for "the principal Feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary" together with antiphons and hymns to her.  It’s a beautifully flowing…