2018 Music List January-March

Our new music list is now available. We start off 2018 with the charming Missa Ad præsepio by George Malcolm, a former Master of Music at Westminster Cathedral. Its simple, pastoral style is a good detox after the excesses, musical or otherwise, of Christmas. 

Although the Baptism of the Lord doesn’t fall on a Sunday this year, we’re indulging one last piece of Christmas music with Clemens O magnum mysterium on Sunday 14th January. A much sunnier piece than the Poulenc, Palestrina and Victoria settings we sang over Christmas, it perhaps emphasises the joy of the Incarnation above the sense of mystery the others highlight.

Diego Ortiz Alma Redemptoris Mater has, it seems, been waiting in the wings for many years to be included on a music list. It is a long-standing favourite of the Director of Music, though we sadly won’t be performing it quite as it is here with doubling instruments and spatially separated choirs – from this performance you probably wouldn’t guess that it is only 6-parts throughout.

Two Gesualdo motets prefigure the sombre mood of Lent but are balanced by two 8-part Masses, programmed to mark the changing of Marian Antiphons, Victoria Missa Alma Redemptoris Mater and Padilla Missa Ave Regina cælorum

Our next project – The Forrest-Heyther Partbooks – starts on Ash Wednesday. This project will programme the 18 Masses contained in the partbooks alongside contemporary and near-contemporary works from the Tudor period. During Lent we perform some of the larger-scale works by Byrd, William Mundy, Tallis and White, pieces that will split between the Offertory and Communion. The details of the project are still being tweaked (maybe some time off after Cardoso450 would have been sensible) but will be available in February.

2017 Q4 music list

The new music list is now available. It is not only the final list of 2017, but also the end of Cardoso450, a project that has been a constant companion since February 2016. Cardoso's 6-part Requiem was one of the works that encouraged the project into existence; it is fitting that it should be one of the final works we perform. But what of the rest?

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Canons and pearls

The Gospel reading for the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) is taken from Matthew (13: 44-52) ‘The kingdom of heaven is like…’ (Simile est regnum cælorum), a text repeated in the Communion Antiphon. Victoria’s Mass is a parody of Guerrero’s motet of the same title; however, the text of Guerrero’s motet is a different simile from later in Matthew’s Gospel (20: 1-4), so, while Victoria’s Mass ties in liturgically in title, if not in origin, Guerrero’s motet doesn’t. Instead, we are singing his wonderful motet Ave Virgo sanctissima which, far from being a random choice, fits in in two ways.

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2017 Q3 music list

We're entering the final stages of our monumental Cardoso450 project, building up to the big finish on the Q4 music list. Our Cardoso focus allows us to explore another Palestrina/Cardoso pairing on Sunday 16th June - Veni sponsa Christi for our Patronal Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Another interesting pairing can be heard on 20th August with two settings of the story of a woman whose daughter is possessed by a devil (Matthew 15: 21-22). This list also has a strong English accent with music by Byrd, Mundy, Philips, Tallis and Tye, a foretaste of our forthcoming project in 2018/19 - more details soon. We're particularly excited to be able to perform Holst's 8-part Ave Maria for upper voices and two motets by Sweelinck whose sacred music is heard far too infrequently.