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.

New year, new music list

The music list for January-March is now available here.

Our Cardoso450 project continues throughout most of 2017 and rather dominates this music list. We’ve only just celebrated Christmas, yet it seems only a matter of weeks before Lent is upon us once more. Lent/Easter marks the final period of concentrated activity on the project before it concludes in November. All of the Cardoso450 works are being newly edited and it is a continuing joy to discover these largely unknown works. (The sheer amount of music being edited and added to our library is extraordinary – in 2016 we sang 61 services and added 124 new editions to the library, including 101 for Cardoso450!)

Beyond Cardoso, two double-choir settings of the Marian antiphon Ave Regina cælorum particularly stand out: the setting by Joan Cererols is notable for the effortless conversing of the two choirs and for its stunning concluding English cadence; and Michael Haydn’s setting, written in the stile antico, which contains numerous harmonic twists and turns that make it a happy partner to Mendelssohn’s Mass for eight voices, an arrangement of his vernacular Lutheran settings.

Cardoso Concert

We had a wonderful time performing our Cardoso & The Golden Age programme on Thursday 8th to an appreciative and attentive audience. Thank you to everyone who joined us. We will be sharing some photos and videos soon; in the meantime you can find out a bit more about the pieces we performed and their composers by reading the concert programme

The celebration of Cardoso's 450th anniversary continues tomorrow; Sunday 11th December 2016 is the 450th anniversary of Cardoso's baptism (and his likely birthday). Mass at 11.00am will feature his Missa Dominicarum Adventus and the motet Cum audisset Ioannes alongside the 8-part Alma Redemptoris Mater by Duarte Lobo.