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If ye love me: Music for Men's Choir and Organ

How do musicians respond to rapid cultural change? Choristers and organists faced this question head on in the late 1540s as the English church services went from late medieval catholicism to full blown protestantism in the space of a few months. The new services required new music - often this meant counterfeiting (adding new English lyrics) old Latin motets, but it also meant composing new works that fit the mood of the times. Edwardine England (1547-1553) was an age of musical experimentation as composers and musicians sought to figure out what would work best with a new language, new services, and challenges to their craft. The most ardent reformers didn't like choirs very much and sought to emphasize congregational singing. The pieces we're left with are a hodge-podge of repurposed late medieval choral polyphony, homophonic chant-like psalms, and a series of first-species counterpoint pieces. Our concert will explore a range of works for Men's Choir from the Wanley Partbooks (Bodleian MSS Music School e. 420-422, c.1549-c.1551), from short 30 second sentences, to interpolated organ and choral settings, anthems, and a five-part men's communion setting. Many of the pieces are best described as 'one off' functional liturgical music....

A Tribute to St Cecilia - Missa Cantantibus organis

Palestrina, the pre-eminent composer of the late 16th century, was teacher and mentor of many of the elite musicians in Rome. He collaborated with six of his colleagues, some of them his former choristers and students, to write the the twelve-voice Missa Cantantibus organis, a tribute to Saint Cecilia. The motet by Palestrina of the same name was the starting point for the composers, giving the mass a cohesive musical sound even though it was composed by seven different people: Palestrina, Giovanni Andrea Dragoni, Ruggiero Giovannelli, Curzio Mancini, Prospero Santini, Francesco Soriano and Annibale Stabile. They were all members of the Vertuosa Compagnia dei Musici di Roma, a society founded in 1585 under the patronage of Pope Gregory XIII. This society was the forerunner of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia, still active in Rome today. The concert will interweave the movements of the mass, performed by One Equall Musick under the direction of Christopher Hossfeld, with 10th-century plainchants for the feast of St. Cecilia sung by Scholastica, under the direction of Rebecca Bain.