Jacob Handl (1550–1591): Resonet in laudibus

Handl was born in Slovenia and educated in both Melk and Vien­na. He asked for and got a sab­bat­ical and for the four years bet­ween 1575 and 1579 he wan­dered around Austria, Moravia, Bohemia and Silesia, living in monasteries and studying the music he heard on his travels tak­ing the op­por­tun­ity to "un­derstand the muse…

Philippe de Monte (1521-1603): Asperges me, Domine

De Monte was remarkable not only for the quality of his music but also for how much of it he produced. During his career he published thirty-four(!) books of mad­rig­als, thirty-eight Mass sett­ings, around 250 motets, and 144 mad­rigali spirituali. He spent most of his career working for the Hapsburgs winding up as Kapellmeist­er to…

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…

Jacquet de Mantua (1483 -1559): Aspice Domine

I wrote about this five-part (SATTB) motet by Jacquet de Mantua featuring the performance by Delititiæ Musicæ under Marco Longhini back  in May. 1  I recently stumbled across this performance by the Choir of Magdalen College, Oxford under Bill Ives, really it’s superb, don’t miss it. mfi

Robert White (±1538-1574): Ad te levavi oculos meos

Maxima musarum nostrarum gloria White Tu peris aeternum sed tua musa manet. White, thou glorious leader of our art has died But thy muse lives on in eternity. (Robert Dow’s lament on the death of Robert White in the London plague outbreak of 1574). Robert White was born into a well-to-do family with many connections…

John Sheppard (±1515-1558): Gaude, gaude, gaude Maria

We know very little about Sheppard’s life (and much of what we ‘knew’ turns out to be wrong) but his contemporaries and later generations of musicians fully recognised his importance more than 40 years after his death Thomas Morley praised his music.  His Latin works mostly date from the reigns of Henry VII and Mary…

Miserere dominum (troped Kyrie ): The Winchester Troper

On Easter Sunday 1043 Edward the Confessor was crowned during Mass in Winchester Cathedral the music sung during that Mass has come down to in the book known as ‘the Winchester Troper’ which now resides in the Parker Library at Corpus Christi College Cambridge (MS 473). The book consists of chant which went beyond the…

William Byrd (±1539-1623): Tribulatio proxima est

Byrd’s penitential motet Tribulatio proxima est (Tribulation is near ) was published in the Cantiones Sacrae of 1591 and takes its text from Psalms 21 and 69 respectively. As you might expect of Byrd the music serves to portray the text so we have a strong outcry at the plea for justice (vindica me), twisted…

Hans Leo Hassler (1562-1612): Ad Dominum

Hassler was very influential in his day both Bach (O Haput voll Blut und Wunde) and Schütz (Psalmen Davids) quoted his music. The son of a stonecutter and part time musician in Nuremburg he was sent to Venice to study music and composition. In Venice he came under the influence of the Gabrieli’s  studying under…