Spem in alium (Sarum plainchant)

The text for this respond at Matins in the Sarum liturgy is derived from Judith 6.19 and 8.19. There is no musical connection between this and any of the polyphonic settings of the text, so far as I know the performance below is the only recording of it ever made commercially. Enjoy :-). mfi

Thomas Tallis (±1505-1585): Derelinquat impius

Derelinquat impius (May the unrighteous) takes its text from Isaiah and was the fifth Respond at Matins on the First Sunday in Lent. Andrew Carwood describes it as "surprising and unsettling because of the peregrinations of the opening bars" with some "eyebrow-raising melodic moments".  But surely that was the entire point? Tallis rarely, very rarely,…

William Byrd (±1539-1623): Aspice, Domine quia facta est

Byrd’s  of the Matins Respond for November was published in the 1575 Cantiones Sacræ. The text is from The Lamentations and it’s a six-part setting for divided tenors and means that clearly shows Ferrabosco’s influence in its Italianate structure of lengthy imitative writing followed by very brief homophonic passages. The effect is quite dark but…

William Byrd (±1539-1623): Peccantem me quotidie

Byrd’s five-part (SATTB) setting of the seventh respond at the matins for the dead is a surprisingly old-fashioned piece of writing that harkens back to Fayrfax, Cornysh, and Ludford. It’s a little surprising that Byrd selected such an old-fashioned style as he along with his contemporaries was busy exploring the possibilities offered by the mean…

Robert Parsons (c1535-1572): Credo quod redemptor

Parsons’ setting of the the First Respond at Matins, Office for the Dead is an austerely beautiful piece of work that’s somewhat reminiscent in style of the early Elizabethan motets composed by Tallis and Byrd. It’s been suggested that Alfonso Ferrabosco’s setting of this text was the model used by Parsons here. On stylistic grounds…