Maurice Green (1696 – 1755): Lord, let me know mine end

Green was an important composer in his day his music was "generally buoyant and attractively tuneful, is thus more elegant and polished than that of almost all his immediate predecessors and contemporaries" perhaps because he wrote in a more cosmopolitan style than they did. His modern reputation has suffered mostly because Burney took against him.…

Heinrich Schütz (1585–1672): In lectulo per noctes

From 1609 to 1613 Schütz lived in Venice where he became the pupil of Giovanni Gabrieli who he admired all his life, for both personal and musical reasons. Although his great admiration of Gabrieli in particular and the Italian school of composition in general never faded Schütz  adopted their techniques and methods only when it…

Jacquet de Mantua (1483-1559): O Jesu Christe

This setting of O Jesu Christe, or O Jesu Christe Miserere Mei  (O Jesus Christ, have mercy on me) to give it its full title was often attributed to Jacquet de Berchem but is now known to be by Jacquet de Mantua. It’s a four-part (SATB) motet whose personal nature – have mercy on me…

Cipriano de Rore (c1515-1565): Fratres: Scitote

The second of two five-part motets by De Rore that take their text from the writings of St. Paul  Fratres: Scitote  (Brothers: Know this) sets 1 Corinthians 11: 23-24  in which Paul recounts how during the Last Supper Jesus instituted Holy Communion by taking bread, blessing it, and distributing it. The motet is a bit…

Christopher Gibbons (1615 – 1676): O Bone Jesu

A Latin-texted motet is, as you might expect, quite unusual amongst Gibbons’ compositions1. It’s very beautifully and expressively written and with an very special sound-world. The soprano hovers more than an octave over the three lower voices the effect of which is heightened by sharpened interjections. I found it a very striking piece of music…

William Byrd (±1539-1623): Circumdederunt me

The tessitura of Byrd’s surprisingly continental sounding five-part (ATTBB) setting of Circumdederunt me the text of which is adapted from Psalm 17 verses 5-7  in the Vulgate moves ever upwards becoming ever more intense until we come to his pleas O Domine, libera animam meam (O Lord, free my soul) at which point the music…