Heinrich Schütz (1585–1672): In lectulo per noctes

From 1609 to 1613 Schütz lived in Venice where he became the pupil of Giovanni Gabrieli who he admired all his life, for both personal and musical reasons. Although his great admiration of Gabrieli in particular and the Italian school of composition in general never faded Schütz  adopted their techniques and methods only when it…

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…

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…

Antoine Brumel (±1460 — ±1513): Sicut lilium inter spinas

His contemporaries ranked Brumel’s music highly comparing him favourably with both Josquin and Ockeghem. His four-part (SATB or ATTB) setting of Sicut lilium inter spinas (As the lily among thorns) Song of Solomon 2: 2 which at that time was the Antiphon for Matins of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is quite typical…

Alessandro Grandi (±1586 – 1630): O quam tu pulchra es

There are quite a few good performances on YouTube  of Grandi’s motet based upon the Song of Songs for soloist with continuo accompaniment, including this very nice performance by Philippe Jaroussky one which tends to be overlooked is this rendition by Arianna Vendittelli, accompanied by Renato Criscuolo and Simone Vallerotornda of Musicaperduta. Enjoy :-). mfi

Patrick Hawes (Born 1958): Song of Songs

The sixth and last in Hawes’ enchanting series of songs based upon the Song of Songs – I find the series as a whole so good that it’s hard to single out any of them but this ecstatically joyful song — the penultimate in the series is nevertheless very special. Enjoy :-). mfi

Robert White (±1538-1574): Tota pulchra es

When Robert White died at the age of thirty six during one of the many outbreaks of plague that London was subject to at the time Robert Dow made a copy of all his motets and added this epitaph ‘Greatest glory of our muses, White: you perish, but your muse remains for ever’ nor was…

Patrick Hawes (Born 1958): Faint with love

The fourth in Hawes’ exquisite cycle of songs based upon the Song of Songs – enjoy :-. mfi Patrick Hawes (Born 1958): Faint with love Faint with love, My heart, faint with love— so faint. I am falling, yearning, for your touch. Faint with love, My heart, faint with love— so faint. In your shadow…

Patrick Hawes (Born 1958): Rhapsody

This is the second of Hawe’s cycle of five songs based upon the Song of Songs that collection of desert love poetry which prefigures Christianity and provides it with "a language of love that is both sensual and spiritual, of earth and of heaven". Rhapsody’s urgent driving rhythms capture the text’s sense of anticipation perfectly.…