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

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…

William Byrd (±1539-1623): Teach Me, O Lord

It must have been an agonising experience for Byrd to see his hopes for the five-year English Catholic renaissance of 1553–58 dashed with the death of Queen Mary. A devout, and stubborn Catholic he was to live the remainder of his life under protestant monarchs. Fortunately for him, and for us, he managed the difficult…

William Byrd (±1539-1623): Non vos relinquam (SSATB)

Non vos relinquam is one of the motets from the 1607 Gradualia. It’s a five-part setting (SSATB) whose simple and flowing style conceals some very complex counterpoint. Whenever I listen to it I marvel at how Byrd wove the alleluias into the fabric of the piece and how he manages to portray the Apostles’ mixed…

William Byrd (±1539-1623): Plorans Plorabit

Byrd’s five part (SAATB) setting of verses seventeen and eighteen from Jeremiah 13 was published in the 1605 Gradualia. It’s a bit unusual in that unlike most of the content of the 1605 gradualia  it’s not a liturgical motet. Further more its text was manifestly chosen as a reference to  the situation of the English…

Edmund Turges (?1450-????): From stormy windes

I can tell you very little about Edmund Turges we don’t know where or when he was born – although London around 1450 is a reasonably good guess. We know that he was admitted to the London parish clerks’ company of the Fraternity of St Nicholas between 1468 and 1470 and we know that his…

Thomas Tallis (±1505-1585): Alleluia. Ora pro nobis

Tallis’ Alleluia. Ora pro nobis for four voices is a fairly early composition. It’s a liturgical text intended to be sung during the the celebration of a Lady Mass (Lady Masses were daily celebrations of the Mass that used texts relating to the Blessed Virgin Mary) on Tuesdays between Pentecost and Advent. Enjoy :-) markfromireland

John Sheppard (c1515–December 1558): Media Vita

Sheppard’s music is not as popular as that of his contemporaries – I think this is a shame as he’s right up there alongside his better-known contemporaries Taverner, Tye, White, and even Tallis. If you want to hear Tudor era music of breathtaking beauty and originality then Sheppard’s compositions surely fit the bill. Media Vita…

Thomas Tallis Loquebantur variis linguis – YouTube

Tallis’ motet Loquebantur variis linguis is a polyphonic responsory of the type created and established in the repertoire by Taverner. It’s a Pentecostal motet (as can immediately be seen from the text and translation which I give below) and is characterised by a tenor cantus firmus around which the six other voices create a polyphonic…

William Byrd (±1539-1623): Domine, salva nos

This antiphon is one of my favourites amongst Byrd’s antiphons it’s a prayer for help and the coming of peace. Its text is taken from the Vulgate (Matthew 8: 25–26) – the verses recounting how Jesus stilled the tempest in the Sea of Galilee: 25 Et accesserunt ad eum discipuli ejus, et suscitaverunt eum, dicentes:…