Posts Tagged ‘ Tudor Music ’

Thomas Tallis (±1505-1585): Miserere nostri, Domine

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March 5, 2015

The phrase "Miserere nostri, Domine" (Have mercy on us Lord) appears twice in the Liturgy once as  the third verse of psalm 122 and again as the second last verse of the Te Deum. The phrase itself is an alternative form of the more familiar Miserere nobis found in the ordinary of the Mass. It's one of three texts collectively referred to as "Miserere" texts, Miserere Mei, Miserere Mihi, and Miserere Nostri and all three texts are of interest to us as music lovers because during the reign of Elizabeth II a tradition developed amongst English composers of setting the 'Miserere' texts to canonic musical settings as a demonstration of their technical mastery of the compositional arts. If you like Elizabethan polyphonic music and the text being set is one of the Miserere texts you can be pretty sure you're in for a treat.

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

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February 4, 2015

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 very beautiful. Enjoy :-).

markfromireland

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William Byrd (±1539-1623): Deficit in dolore

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January 26, 2015

Byrd's AATTB motet Deficit in dolore (Wasted in grief) takes its text from the psalms and free text he published it in the 1589 Cantiones sacrae. Like much in that book Byrd selected and arranged the texts to describe personal suffering before expressing hope. 

mfi

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

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January 15, 2015

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 vocal range. Old-fashioned but nevertheless very beautiful and a glorious example of what Byrd could do when he put his mind to it. Enjoy :-).

mfi

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Thomas Tallis (±1505-1585): Jesu salvator saeculi

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January 14, 2015

Tallis' setting of the compline hymn Jesu salvator saeculi (Jesus, saviour of the age) is an alternim setting that alternates the chant and composed music retaining the cantus firmus in the top part. Under Sarum usage it would have been sung between low Sunday and Ascension it's typical of the new style of hymnody pioneered by Tallis and his contemporaries eschewing the massive polyphonic 'wall of sound' of earlier generations in favour of an elegant simplicity and textual clarity.  Enjoy :-).

mfi

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