For details of previous meetings, click here.

Saturday 1st February 2020

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

Eccard When to the temple Mary went or YouTube SSATBB
Eccard was Kappellmeister to Elector Joachim Friedrich of Brandenburg in Berlin and is mostly known for his role in developing the genre of the Lutheran chorale. This exquisite motet for Candlemas (2 February), the presentation of Christ in the temple, is a beautifully proportioned and restrained piece of enduring appeal. Despite its six-part texture, the motet's delicate harmonisation ensures that the words remain the focus. The climactic moment, when the aged Simeon recognises Jesus as 'the light of the world', is hauntingly simple an octave leap in the soprano line sees it flower expansively above the accompanying voices.

Bennet Thyrsis, sleepest thou? or YouTube SATB
From Madrigals for 4 voices of 1599. Bennet's technical mastery of light madrigals was second to none. This classic example is set to a pastoral text, with fresh melodic invention and a characteristic atmosphere of the spring. Thyrsis, the archetypal shepherd-poet, seems quite sad, possibly because he has lost a singing competition (against Corydon)? Note lively overlapping triple rhythms and the charmingly nave illustration of individual words such as 'cuckoo' and 'sighed'.

Wilbye Draw on, sweet night or YouTube Also in the Oxford Book of English Madrigals SSATTB
Another chance to sing this much-loved piece, and to spend a little time working on it. Wilbye is considered one of the greatest of English madrigalists, with a style characterized by delicate voice-writing, acute sensitivity to the text and the use of false relations between the major and minor modes.

Bennet All creatures now or YouTube Also in the Oxford Book of English Madrigals SSATB
We have often sung this delightful Oriana madrigal at our garden parties but have not worked on it at a meeting since late 2016. It is from Morley's The Triumphs of Oriana, a collection of 1601 commissioned (probably) in honour of Queen Elizabeth, and it is one of the most loved of all madrigals. It is mostly homophonic, with a few obvious instances of word-painting: look out for an effervescent 'merry'-ment, hovering birds, and a stately elongation of the word 'Long' (live fair Oriana) towards the end of the piece. When 'the flowers themselves discover' this means that they appear or show themselves.

Byrd This sweet and merry month of May or YouTube Also in the Oxford Book of English Madrigals SSATBB
William Byrd was the greatest English composer of his era. The six-part This sweet and merry month of May is one of very few of his compositions that might rightly be called a madrigal he was reluctant to allow the Italian style to influence his own musical language. The piece begins with a brief canonic duet for the two sopranos, with an upward flourish on 'merry' and gently arched quavers depicting the singing of the birds. A brief section in triple meter sees homophonic groups of three, four, and five voices. 'Holiday' is strikingly homophonic and antiphonal, while 'Eliza' provides some distinct and dense imitation. The 'beauteous Queen of second Troy' (Queen Elizabeth and the British realm) is saluted in C major. The final line, 'take well in worth a simple toy', is a false modestly: the poet's accomplished offering to a mighty monarch being presented as a mere trifle.

Weelkes Hark, all ye lovely saints above or YouTube Also in the Oxford Book of English Madrigals SSATB
More from the cathedral establishment's most celebrated disorderly member, Thomas Weelkes, the organist at Chichester where, despite several attempts to remove him from his position (drunkenness, foul language, urinating on the Dean from the organ loft etc), he was to remain until his death. In this ironic and charming ballet, the virgin goddess Diana seems to have instructed Cupid to dispose of his bow and arrow, which has been the source of much mourning. The teasing music is mock-serious, with major-minor changes on 'weep' and 'mourn'. The final fa las are reminiscent of a guitar.

For details of previous meetings, click here.

Saturday 1st February 2020

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

Eccard When to the temple Mary went or YouTube SSATBB
Eccard was Kappellmeister to Elector Joachim Friedrich of Brandenburg in Berlin and is mostly known for his role in developing the genre of the Lutheran chorale. This exquisite motet for Candlemas (2 February), the presentation of Christ in the temple, is a beautifully proportioned and restrained piece of enduring appeal. Despite its six-part texture, the motet's delicate harmonisation ensures that the words remain the focus. The climactic moment, when the aged Simeon recognises Jesus as 'the light of the world', is hauntingly simple an octave leap in the soprano line sees it flower expansively above the accompanying voices.

Bennet Thyrsis, sleepest thou? or YouTube SATB
From Madrigals for 4 voices of 1599. Bennet's technical mastery of light madrigals was second to none. This classic example is set to a pastoral text, with fresh melodic invention and a characteristic atmosphere of the spring. Thyrsis, the archetypal shepherd-poet, seems quite sad, possibly because he has lost a singing competition (against Corydon)? Note lively overlapping triple rhythms and the charmingly nave illustration of individual words such as 'cuckoo' and 'sighed'.

Wilbye Draw on, sweet night or YouTube Also in the Oxford Book of English Madrigals SSATTB
Another chance to sing this much-loved piece, and to spend a little time working on it. Wilbye is considered one of the greatest of English madrigalists, with a style characterized by delicate voice-writing, acute sensitivity to the text and the use of false relations between the major and minor modes.

Bennet All creatures now or YouTube Also in the Oxford Book of English Madrigals SSATB
We have often sung this delightful Oriana madrigal at our garden parties but have not worked on it at a meeting since late 2016. It is from Morley's The Triumphs of Oriana, a collection of 1601 commissioned (probably) in honour of Queen Elizabeth, and it is one of the most loved of all madrigals. It is mostly homophonic, with a few obvious instances of word-painting: look out for an effervescent 'merry'-ment, hovering birds, and a stately elongation of the word 'Long' (live fair Oriana) towards the end of the piece. When 'the flowers themselves discover' this means that they appear or show themselves.

Byrd This sweet and merry month of May or YouTube Also in the Oxford Book of English Madrigals SSATBB
William Byrd was the greatest English composer of his era. The six-part This sweet and merry month of May is one of very few of his compositions that might rightly be called a madrigal he was reluctant to allow the Italian style to influence his own musical language. The piece begins with a brief canonic duet for the two sopranos, with an upward flourish on 'merry' and gently arched quavers depicting the singing of the birds. A brief section in triple meter sees homophonic groups of three, four, and five voices. 'Holiday' is strikingly homophonic and antiphonal, while 'Eliza' provides some distinct and dense imitation. The 'beauteous Queen of second Troy' (Queen Elizabeth and the British realm) is saluted in C major. The final line, 'take well in worth a simple toy', is a false modestly: the poet's accomplished offering to a mighty monarch being presented as a mere trifle.

Weelkes Hark, all ye lovely saints above or YouTube Also in the Oxford Book of English Madrigals SSATB
More from the cathedral establishment's most celebrated disorderly member, Thomas Weelkes, the organist at Chichester where, despite several attempts to remove him from his position (drunkenness, foul language, urinating on the Dean from the organ loft etc), he was to remain until his death. In this ironic and charming ballet, the virgin goddess Diana seems to have instructed Cupid to dispose of his bow and arrow, which has been the source of much mourning. The teasing music is mock-serious, with major-minor changes on 'weep' and 'mourn'. The final fa las are reminiscent of a guitar.

For details of previous meetings, click here.

Saturday 1st February 2020

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

Eccard When to the temple Mary went or YouTube SSATBB
Eccard was Kappellmeister to Elector Joachim Friedrich of Brandenburg in Berlin and is mostly known for his role in developing the genre of the Lutheran chorale. This exquisite motet for Candlemas (2 February), the presentation of Christ in the temple, is a beautifully proportioned and restrained piece of enduring appeal. Despite its six-part texture, the motet's delicate harmonisation ensures that the words remain the focus. The climactic moment, when the aged Simeon recognises Jesus as 'the light of the world', is hauntingly simple an octave leap in the soprano line sees it flower expansively above the accompanying voices.

Bennet Thyrsis, sleepest thou? or YouTube SATB
From Madrigals for 4 voices of 1599. Bennet's technical mastery of light madrigals was second to none. This classic example is set to a pastoral text, with fresh melodic invention and a characteristic atmosphere of the spring. Thyrsis, the archetypal shepherd-poet, seems quite sad, possibly because he has lost a singing competition (against Corydon)? Note lively overlapping triple rhythms and the charmingly nave illustration of individual words such as 'cuckoo' and 'sighed'.

Wilbye Draw on, sweet night or YouTube Also in the Oxford Book of English Madrigals SSATTB
Another chance to sing this much-loved piece, and to spend a little time working on it. Wilbye is considered one of the greatest of English madrigalists, with a style characterized by delicate voice-writing, acute sensitivity to the text and the use of false relations between the major and minor modes.

Bennet All creatures now or YouTube Also in the Oxford Book of English Madrigals SSATB
We have often sung this delightful Oriana madrigal at our garden parties but have not worked on it at a meeting since late 2016. It is from Morley's The Triumphs of Oriana, a collection of 1601 commissioned (probably) in honour of Queen Elizabeth, and it is one of the most loved of all madrigals. It is mostly homophonic, with a few obvious instances of word-painting: look out for an effervescent 'merry'-ment, hovering birds, and a stately elongation of the word 'Long' (live fair Oriana) towards the end of the piece. When 'the flowers themselves discover' this means that they appear or show themselves.

Byrd This sweet and merry month of May or YouTube Also in the Oxford Book of English Madrigals SSATBB
William Byrd was the greatest English composer of his era. The six-part This sweet and merry month of May is one of very few of his compositions that might rightly be called a madrigal he was reluctant to allow the Italian style to influence his own musical language. The piece begins with a brief canonic duet for the two sopranos, with an upward flourish on 'merry' and gently arched quavers depicting the singing of the birds. A brief section in triple meter sees homophonic groups of three, four, and five voices. 'Holiday' is strikingly homophonic and antiphonal, while 'Eliza' provides some distinct and dense imitation. The 'beauteous Queen of second Troy' (Queen Elizabeth and the British realm) is saluted in C major. The final line, 'take well in worth a simple toy', is a false modestly: the poet's accomplished offering to a mighty monarch being presented as a mere trifle.

Weelkes Hark, all ye lovely saints above or YouTube Also in the Oxford Book of English Madrigals SSATB
More from the cathedral establishment's most celebrated disorderly member, Thomas Weelkes, the organist at Chichester where, despite several attempts to remove him from his position (drunkenness, foul language, urinating on the Dean from the organ loft etc), he was to remain until his death. In this ironic and charming ballet, the virgin goddess Diana seems to have instructed Cupid to dispose of his bow and arrow, which has been the source of much mourning. The teasing music is mock-serious, with major-minor changes on 'weep' and 'mourn'. The final fa las are reminiscent of a guitar.