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 (c.1549-c.1551), from short 30 second sentences, to interpolated organ and choral settings, anthems, and a five-part men’s communion setting. We’re very pleased to welcome Adrian Foster, who will be offering works from the Mulliner Book, a contemporary manuscript of organ music. Many of the pieces are best described as 'one off' functional liturgical music. But there are diamonds amidst the rough - Thomas Tallis's If Ye Love Me, being the most famous.
The medieval Iberian peninsula, named “al-Andalus” in Arabic, was a meeting place for Jewish, Islamic, and Christian cultures. This unique environment gave birth to three great musical traditions: Sephardic, Andalusian, and Spanish Renaissance music. The vocal ensemble One Equall Musick; l’Ensemble Séfarade et Méditeranéen (ESEM); vocalist Lamia Yared, qanun player Nizar Tacharani and percussionist Nathaniel Huard weave these threads together in a program that evokes the spirit of al-Andalus.