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Renaissance Music from England and Spain

Saturday March 16, 2024 at 18:00
The Parish Church of St Mary-the-Virgin, Primrose Hill, London
£15, students with card £10, child with adult free
Other Sources: choir members
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Tickets "at the door" - until sold out
  1. Mass for 4 voices - William Byrd
  2. Missa Alma redemptoris mater (8vv) - Tomás Luis de Victoria
  3. If ye love me - Thomas Tallis
  4. When David heard - Thomas Tomkins
  5. Ave virgo sanctissima - Francisco Guerrero
  6. Peccantem me quotidie - Cristóbal de Morales

The work of two of the greatest composers of the Renaissance are compared and contrasted in this concert – William Byrd and Tomás Luis de Victoria. These are accompanied by motets from some of their most illustrious compatriots: Tallis, Tomkins, Guerrero and Morales.

Byrd’s Mass for 4 voices was written in the early 1590s, and published in 1592–3., probably the first of his three Mass settings from this decade.

Thomas Tallis was among the first to set English words to music for the rites of the Church of England. Under Edward VI, it was mandated that services be sung in English, and that the choral music be brief and succinct ‘to each syllable a plain and distinct note’. If ye love me is a classic example of these new English anthems.

Thomas Tomkins was organist of the Chapel Royal during the latter part of the 16th century. When David heard is not, strictly speaking, a liturgical piece, but a highly moving part song dramatising King David’s grief at the loss of his son. It was probably composed as a lament for Henry, the young Prince of Wales and eldest son of Charles I, who died in 1612.

Victoria wrote two settings of the Alma redemptoris mater antiphon – one for 5 voices and one for 8 voices in double choir – and in this concise parody Mass, he incorporates material from both of his settings.

Cristóbal de Morales was the most influential Spanish composer of his time. He spent much time in Rome where he sang in the Papal choir for ten years. Returning to Spain, he became maestro at Toledo and then Málaga Cathedrals. Peccantem me quotidie is a powerfully vivid setting of a penitential text.

Francisco Guerrero was maestro at Seville Cathedral. Ave virgo sanctissima was his most successful motet and was published across the Spanish Empire, as far as Mexico and South America.

The Parish Church of St Mary-the-Virgin, Primrose Hill
Elsworthy Road

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