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…

Robert White (±1538-1574): Miserere mei, Deus

White’s five-part (ATTBarB) setting of the Miserere consists chordal singing interspersed with imitative. It’s possible that White set it intending it to be sung alongside the Lamentations to which it bears a distinct resemblance particularly in the way in which in the block chords one voice leads the others thereby providing the vocal clarity that…

Ēriks Ešenvalds (b1977): Psalm 67

Ešenvalds setting of Psalm 67 was premiered by Stephen Layton and Polyphony in Amsterdam in 2012  a very traditional Anglican chant sounding baritone solo is responded to by the full choir singing a very chordal setting of the text. It’s very chromatic writing which shifts and mixes mood between praise and apprehension. The chant melody…

Vespers – Deus in adiutorium

I’m quite often asked ‘What is Vespers?’  Vespers is a one of the liturgical Hours or "offices" that are celebrated at defined moments of the day. The word comes from Latin ‘vespera’ which means ‘evening’ and the office of Vespers was held1 between 5 and 6pm (17:00 – 18:00). Vespers followed a strict pattern: 1:…

Giovanni Paolo Cima (1570- 1630): Exaudi Domine

Cima’s Exaudi Domine takes its text from Psalm 26:7b,9b in the Clementine Vulgate, it’s one of his Concerti Ecclesiastici published in Milan in1610. It’s set for two voices and continuo and is a perfect example of Cima’s skilful and innovative blending of a somewhat ornamented secular declamatory style being used in sacred music. Enjoy :-).…

Robert White (±1538-1574): Domine, quis habitabit (III)

Mid-sixteenth century English composers were great admirers of Josquin and sought to emulate him. His psalm motets were particularly admired and pretty much everyone tried their hand at least once, White was no exception this is his setting of Psalm 14 – you might find it interesting to contrast it with Byrd’s setting about  which…

Samuel Sebastian Wesley (1810-1876): Who can express the noble acts of the Lord? – Paul Phoenix soloist

Samuel Sebastian Wesley (1810–1876) was the illegitimate son of Samuel Wesley (1766–1837) and his housekeeper, Sarah Suter, the Sebastian part of his name is in honour of Johann Sebastian Bach whose music his father loved. Despite the stigma of being illegitimate –  which was an almost insurmountable obstacle in late nineteenth century,  Britain he became…

Heinrich Schütz (1585–1672): Jauchzet dem Herren

To my mind Schütz is the most important composer in Germany before the advent of Johann Sebastian Bach. His family wanted him to be a lawyer but fortunately for him (and for us) in 1608 the Landgrave of Moritz gave him money to travel to Venice and study music under Giovanni Gabrieli. At that time…

Giovanni Paolo Cima (1570- 1630): Confitemini Domino

Back in May of last year when I was writing about Cima’s musical style I wrote this: Stylis­tical­ly I’d de­scribe his vocal sac­red music as a mix of moderate re­form­ism and con­ser­vat­ism in which polyp­hony gradual­ly gave way to some solo motets in a style, similar to Viadana’s. Similar, but not ident­ical, be­cause Cima’s music…

Vivaldi – Lauda Jerusalem – Alessandrini

I wrote about this setting of Psalm 147 as part of my series of postings dealing with Vivaldi’s religious music. Here’s my description from that posting: This single-movement sett­ing of the Lauda, Jerusalem (RV609) dates from some­time dur­ing the 1720s. Vival­di set it for two choirs each of which had a sop­rano sol­o­ist, four parts,…