Jean Lhéritier (±1480—±1552): Magnificat

The first public performance in modern times of Jean L’Heritier’s Magnificat. Recorded live at the St. John Nepomucene Chapel at Sarny Castle, Aug 29, 2015. Performed by Men’s Vocal Ensemble Gregorianum, conducted by Berenika Jozajtis. This is a rarity amongst Lhéritier ‘s surviving works most of which arecomparatively short motets. Rarity or not like all…

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…

William Byrd (±1539-1623): Oculi Omnium

Byrd’s four-part (ATTB) setting  of Oculi Omnium which was prescribed as the Gradual & Alleluia for Corpus Christi & Votive Mass of the Blessed Sacrament was published in the 1605 Gradualia of (vol. 2, no. 2), it’s a very direct setting of the text that moves to three voices at ‘Aperis tu manum tuam …’…

Orlande de Lassus (1532-1594): Tristis est anima mea

His setting of Christ’s meditation in the Garden of Gethsemane from the Gospel of St Matthew is one of de Lassus’ most dramatic narrative motets. Lassus takes the text which is taken from the words Jesus spoke to his disciples just before his arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane and uses all his skill in…

Gregorio Allegri (1582-1652): Christus resurgens ex mortuis

Allegri’s setting of the Easter motet Christus resurgens ex mortuis (Christ, rising from the Dead) takes its text from Romans 6:9-10 & 4:25. In his introduction to the recording from which this performance is taken Harry Christophers makes the point that "Allegri is one of those composers whose reputation and renown rests on a single…

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…

Jacquet de Mantua (1483 -1559): O pulcherrima inter mulieres

This three-part (SSA) motet is one of a collection of motets entitled Motetta trium vocum for three voices  by several composers1 including Jacquet de Mantua published in Venice in 1543 by Antonio Gardano. It’s a bitter-sweet setting whose text using imagery from the Song of Songs reflects the emotional anguish that can be caused by…