Go back to index of previous meetings.

Saturday 5th November 2016

Please note that music files that are linked to are not necessarily the same edition we will be using on the night and therefore there may be some slight differences.

Farrant Lord for thy tender mercies' sake SATB
The composer of this simple but lovely anthem is a little uncertain. Manuscripts ascribe the music to 'Farrant' but there were three: Richard (a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal) and two Johns. John the elder was master of the choristers at Salisbury and had a particular reputation for a rough temper and 'rayling and contumelious speeches'; his son John became organist at Salisbury in 1600. The final 'amen' of this short but moving piece is thought to have been added by a John Hilton, of which there were also two, father and son, the latter being one-time organist at St Margaret's Westminster.

Gibbons Dainty fine bird Oxford Book of English Madrigals (but this is SSTTB) SSATB
This fine composition has beauty and dignity and an arching melancholy, and is a sustained lament on the trials of love. Interesting comparisons can be made between it and Vautor's 'Dainty sweet bird', which we might look at another time. Gibbons was too young to have contributed to The Triumphs of Oriana and seems 'to have been outside the process by which England first became sophisticated in the ways of Continental music'. His compositions follow the pure line of William Byrd and are still of the old 'English' school, with a distinctly instrumental feel.

Morley Fyer fyer Also in Oxford Book of English Madrigals SSATB
A clever re-working of Marenzio's A la strada. Its text is fairly simple: "Fire, fire, my heart; O help! I sit and cry me, but none comes nigh me." It is full of rhythmic intensity and mock-tragic suspensions, juxtaposing groups of voices at high speed and following their cries with robust fa las. "O help!" is set in a similarly frenzied style, limited to the upper voices for stridency and contrasting with the weight of the "ay me" section. If time permits we can have a brief look at the Italian original as well, for comparison.

Vautor Mother I will have a husband Also in Oxford Book of English Madrigals SSATB
Vautor is better-known for his Sweet Suffolk Owl, but this fun piece speaks for itself. It is largely homophonic, but there are some interesting excursions, especially during the 'gad' into town ('to get a husband, good or bad') and at the inevitable kissing!

Johnson Come Blessed Bird (Oriana madrigal) SSAATB
Towards the end of the sixteenth century Edward Johnson was considered one of the foremost English composers, and was admired by both Byrd and Morley. References to 'Bonny-boots' appear in two of the Triumphs of Oriana, with that by Johnson lamenting his death (the other being Holmes' Thus Bonny-boots, which we sang in March of this year). The text of the two madrigals suggests that Bonny-boots was a musician and a dancer, a favourite of Elizabeth who died in 1597. Explanations as to his true identity are numerous. One suggestion is that the name is a corruption of the French, 'bon et beau', and that it refers to a generic courtier; another is that he is the minor poet, Christopher Morley (possibly the brother of Thomas Morley). Johnson's madrigal also capitalises 'Bird', so that it might also be seen as a plea to William Byrd, then in semi-retirement in Essex, to return to court. The most likely explanation is that Bonny-boots was Henry Noel, a figure much loved by musiciansóWeelkes, Dowland and Morley all wrote elegies to him.

Weelkes Thule, the period of cosmography Also in Oxford Book of English Madrigals SSATTB
We're looking at this magnificent madrigal for a second time, after our successful first read of it last time. Its composition (of this and its companion-piece The Andalusian Merchant) might have been prompted by an eruption of Etna in 1597. It has an expansive musical structure in which vivid geographical and geological reports are exaggerated by a striking musical imagery: furious scales depicting Hecla's 'sulphurious fire', a side-step into triple time on 'Trinacrian Etna' and a rising accompaniment to its ascending flames. The moral of the story comes at the end: the fire of the poet's love is far 'more wondrous' than that of any traveller's tale.

Go back to index of previous meetings.

Saturday 5th November 2016

Please note that music files that are linked to are not necessarily the same edition we will be using on the night and therefore there may be some slight differences.

Farrant Lord for thy tender mercies' sake SATB
The composer of this simple but lovely anthem is a little uncertain. Manuscripts ascribe the music to 'Farrant' but there were three: Richard (a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal) and two Johns. John the elder was master of the choristers at Salisbury and had a particular reputation for a rough temper and 'rayling and contumelious speeches'; his son John became organist at Salisbury in 1600. The final 'amen' of this short but moving piece is thought to have been added by a John Hilton, of which there were also two, father and son, the latter being one-time organist at St Margaret's Westminster.

Gibbons Dainty fine bird Oxford Book of English Madrigals (but this is SSTTB) SSATB
This fine composition has beauty and dignity and an arching melancholy, and is a sustained lament on the trials of love. Interesting comparisons can be made between it and Vautor's 'Dainty sweet bird', which we might look at another time. Gibbons was too young to have contributed to The Triumphs of Oriana and seems 'to have been outside the process by which England first became sophisticated in the ways of Continental music'. His compositions follow the pure line of William Byrd and are still of the old 'English' school, with a distinctly instrumental feel.

Morley Fyer fyer Also in Oxford Book of English Madrigals SSATB
A clever re-working of Marenzio's A la strada. Its text is fairly simple: "Fire, fire, my heart; O help! I sit and cry me, but none comes nigh me." It is full of rhythmic intensity and mock-tragic suspensions, juxtaposing groups of voices at high speed and following their cries with robust fa las. "O help!" is set in a similarly frenzied style, limited to the upper voices for stridency and contrasting with the weight of the "ay me" section. If time permits we can have a brief look at the Italian original as well, for comparison.

Vautor Mother I will have a husband Also in Oxford Book of English Madrigals SSATB
Vautor is better-known for his Sweet Suffolk Owl, but this fun piece speaks for itself. It is largely homophonic, but there are some interesting excursions, especially during the 'gad' into town ('to get a husband, good or bad') and at the inevitable kissing!

Johnson Come Blessed Bird (Oriana madrigal) SSAATB
Towards the end of the sixteenth century Edward Johnson was considered one of the foremost English composers, and was admired by both Byrd and Morley. References to 'Bonny-boots' appear in two of the Triumphs of Oriana, with that by Johnson lamenting his death (the other being Holmes' Thus Bonny-boots, which we sang in March of this year). The text of the two madrigals suggests that Bonny-boots was a musician and a dancer, a favourite of Elizabeth who died in 1597. Explanations as to his true identity are numerous. One suggestion is that the name is a corruption of the French, 'bon et beau', and that it refers to a generic courtier; another is that he is the minor poet, Christopher Morley (possibly the brother of Thomas Morley). Johnson's madrigal also capitalises 'Bird', so that it might also be seen as a plea to William Byrd, then in semi-retirement in Essex, to return to court. The most likely explanation is that Bonny-boots was Henry Noel, a figure much loved by musiciansóWeelkes, Dowland and Morley all wrote elegies to him.

Weelkes Thule, the period of cosmography Also in Oxford Book of English Madrigals SSATTB
We're looking at this magnificent madrigal for a second time, after our successful first read of it last time. Its composition (of this and its companion-piece The Andalusian Merchant) might have been prompted by an eruption of Etna in 1597. It has an expansive musical structure in which vivid geographical and geological reports are exaggerated by a striking musical imagery: furious scales depicting Hecla's 'sulphurious fire', a side-step into triple time on 'Trinacrian Etna' and a rising accompaniment to its ascending flames. The moral of the story comes at the end: the fire of the poet's love is far 'more wondrous' than that of any traveller's tale.

Go back to index of previous meetings.

Saturday 5th November 2016

Please note that music files that are linked to are not necessarily the same edition we will be using on the night and therefore there may be some slight differences.

Farrant Lord for thy tender mercies' sake SATB
The composer of this simple but lovely anthem is a little uncertain. Manuscripts ascribe the music to 'Farrant' but there were three: Richard (a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal) and two Johns. John the elder was master of the choristers at Salisbury and had a particular reputation for a rough temper and 'rayling and contumelious speeches'; his son John became organist at Salisbury in 1600. The final 'amen' of this short but moving piece is thought to have been added by a John Hilton, of which there were also two, father and son, the latter being one-time organist at St Margaret's Westminster.

Gibbons Dainty fine bird Oxford Book of English Madrigals (but this is SSTTB) SSATB
This fine composition has beauty and dignity and an arching melancholy, and is a sustained lament on the trials of love. Interesting comparisons can be made between it and Vautor's 'Dainty sweet bird', which we might look at another time. Gibbons was too young to have contributed to The Triumphs of Oriana and seems 'to have been outside the process by which England first became sophisticated in the ways of Continental music'. His compositions follow the pure line of William Byrd and are still of the old 'English' school, with a distinctly instrumental feel.

Morley Fyer fyer Also in Oxford Book of English Madrigals SSATB
A clever re-working of Marenzio's A la strada. Its text is fairly simple: "Fire, fire, my heart; O help! I sit and cry me, but none comes nigh me." It is full of rhythmic intensity and mock-tragic suspensions, juxtaposing groups of voices at high speed and following their cries with robust fa las. "O help!" is set in a similarly frenzied style, limited to the upper voices for stridency and contrasting with the weight of the "ay me" section. If time permits we can have a brief look at the Italian original as well, for comparison.

Vautor Mother I will have a husband Also in Oxford Book of English Madrigals SSATB
Vautor is better-known for his Sweet Suffolk Owl, but this fun piece speaks for itself. It is largely homophonic, but there are some interesting excursions, especially during the 'gad' into town ('to get a husband, good or bad') and at the inevitable kissing!

Johnson Come Blessed Bird (Oriana madrigal) SSAATB
Towards the end of the sixteenth century Edward Johnson was considered one of the foremost English composers, and was admired by both Byrd and Morley. References to 'Bonny-boots' appear in two of the Triumphs of Oriana, with that by Johnson lamenting his death (the other being Holmes' Thus Bonny-boots, which we sang in March of this year). The text of the two madrigals suggests that Bonny-boots was a musician and a dancer, a favourite of Elizabeth who died in 1597. Explanations as to his true identity are numerous. One suggestion is that the name is a corruption of the French, 'bon et beau', and that it refers to a generic courtier; another is that he is the minor poet, Christopher Morley (possibly the brother of Thomas Morley). Johnson's madrigal also capitalises 'Bird', so that it might also be seen as a plea to William Byrd, then in semi-retirement in Essex, to return to court. The most likely explanation is that Bonny-boots was Henry Noel, a figure much loved by musiciansóWeelkes, Dowland and Morley all wrote elegies to him.

Weelkes Thule, the period of cosmography Also in Oxford Book of English Madrigals SSATTB
We're looking at this magnificent madrigal for a second time, after our successful first read of it last time. Its composition (of this and its companion-piece The Andalusian Merchant) might have been prompted by an eruption of Etna in 1597. It has an expansive musical structure in which vivid geographical and geological reports are exaggerated by a striking musical imagery: furious scales depicting Hecla's 'sulphurious fire', a side-step into triple time on 'Trinacrian Etna' and a rising accompaniment to its ascending flames. The moral of the story comes at the end: the fire of the poet's love is far 'more wondrous' than that of any traveller's tale.