Cardoso & The Golden Age: Programme

Our concert marking the 450th anniversary of the birth of the Carmelite composer Frei Manuel Cardoso is now just a week away. 

To whittle down a project of nearly 200 performed works taken from the 300 or so catalogued has been a challenging task! While focusing on Cardoso, the programme sees the other major composers active at the time of Cardoso represented. It features some well-known works, including Cardoso Sitivit anima mea and Rebelo Panis angelicus, but for the most part continues the work of our Cardoso450 project in promoting works which are unknown. Some of the works have been or will be presented liturgically at the Carmelite Priory, but a choice few are extra and can only be heard at our concert.

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The Masses of Cardoso and his Portuguese contemporaries follow an interesting pattern in their Kyries, providing two distinct polyphonic settings of the Christe. This Kyrie–Christe–Christe–Kyrie sequence is only exceptionally found in the Spanish and Roman etc. schools, but was standard on the Iberian Peninsula in the 16th and early 17th centuries. What is the significance of this and how does it affect our approach to performance?

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2016 Q4 music list published

Music for the Sunday 11.00am Mass until the end of the year is now available here. Our Cardoso450 project enters its second period of more intense activity during Advent and Christmastide, the 3rd Sunday of Advent coinciding with the 450th anniversary of Cardoso's baptism. Mass that day will be offered for the repose of his soul. With the predominance of Portuguese polyphony, the non-Cardoso flavours are kept deliberately strong, with music by Mozart, Reger and Langlais. The Romantic luxuriousness of Rheinberger's popular Cantus Missæ is balanced by the opulence of the 8-part motets by Palestrina and Philips. The highlight, though, is our performance on 15th October of Francisco Valls Missa Scala aretina for 11 voices and instrumental ensemble. This famous but infrequently performed work – a true Baroque masterpiece – provides a fittingly grand accompaniment for the Solemnity of St Teresa of Avila. The Choir will also be singing on 1st October for the feast of St Thèrése as we continue to celebrate important Carmelite saints as well as, through our Cardoso450 project, discover and explore important Carmelite music.

2016 Q3 music list published

The latest music list is available here.

Cardoso  Missa Miserere mihi , opening Kyrie

Cardoso Missa Miserere mihi, opening Kyrie

Another quarter, another music list. The weeks and months seem to fly by. Our monumental Cardoso450 project continues; a true highlight will be the Missa Miserere mihi, a sumptuous 6-part setting from the Liber primus missarum. Cardoso’s gently expressive chromaticism is evident throughout, but perhaps most unexpectly present at the very start where the tenor begins the Mass with a wholetone scale (see illustration). Cardoso would use the same rising scale in his Missa pro defunctis à6 in the same volume which we will be singing next year.

Away from Cardoso and all things Portuguese, we sing English music ancient and modern with settings by Taverner and Vaughan Williams, enjoy some rich lower voice music from Gabrieli, Crecquillon and Gombert, and let our hair down a bit with some cheerful Mozart, including his motet Venite populi for double chorus.

Hic est discipulus ille

Using a Motet as a basis for a Mass is a long-established technique used by the majority of composers in the Renaissance, taking either a Motet of their own or of another composer as a model, the latter being a mark of respect, an indication of the high esteem in which the first composer held the second. This Sunday offers the first opportunity in the Cardoso450 series of hearing this technique in action.

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