William Byrd (±1539-1623): Da mihi auxilium

I’ve written about Byrd’s six-part setting of a text from Psalm 107 before that posting featured a performance by The Cardinall’s Musick under Andrew Carwood, it’s a fine performance as is this somewhat different perfomance by I Fagiolini under Robert Hollingworth which is well worth hearing not only in its own right but also by…

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…

Philippe de Monte (1521-1603): Fratres, ego enim accepi

Textually this is a very odd motet indeed in it de Monte takes two very different texts and stitches them together in such a way that we first have a narrative and then a commentary upon that narrative. The narrative is the text of vv23–24 of 1 Corinthians which paraphrases the Gospels’ recounting of the…

Derrick Gerarde (fl c1540–80): Sive vigilem

Gerarde was a Flemish composer who moved to England where he worked for first Henry Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel, and then his son-in-law Lord Lumley very little is known of his life and anything you read about him is at best  speculative and at worst downright misleading. Most of his surviving music is found in…

Mater ora filium — 14th century polyphony

This source of this charming piece of 14th century polyphony is a Gradual of Sarum chant now in the University of Oxford’s Bodleian Library1 Both the composer and the text’s author are unknown and it seems likely as it was the only polyphonic item in the gradual that it was intended for liturgical use. It’s…

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…