Spotlight on the Netherlands: Christmas in the Tudor Court

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Program: #06-02   Air Date: Jan 02, 2006

The Trinity Baroque directed by Julian Podger give us Thomas Tallis' Missa Puer natus est with other 16th century English music for the season.

We continue our long and fruitful association with our partners at Radio Netherlands in presenting a series of concerts from the Holland Festival of Early Music at Utrecht. Please visit their web site, which will provide more in-depth information about the music and performers we hear as well as more information about the festival:

NOTE: All of the music on this program is performed by the Trinity Baroque directed by Julian Podger, who writes:

"Tonight’s programme is about celebration. It combines various different types of celebrations with which Tallis would have been very familiar together in way in which they enhance one another. The primary celebration to which this programme alludes is the celebration of the mass, but it also incorporates references to Christmastide celebrations, 15th and 16th century secular birthday feasts, and the political and cultural celebrations which accompanied one of the most dramatic events of the 16th century, the return to power of the staunchly Catholic Queen Mary Tudor and the re-establishment of Roman Catholicism in England.

"The main musical focus of tonight’s programme is Tallis’ Missa Puer natus est. This mass, one of only three written by Tallis and one of a handful written in England in the 16th century at all, along with Tallis’ monumental antiphon Gaude gloriosa, is a perfect example of what was probably a joyous outpouring of music in the old style prompted by the ascension of Mary Tudor to the throne in 1553. The music itself combines elements of new and old, perhaps in an attempt to reflect the return to old traditions which Mary was instigating in a way that would emphasize their relevance to a mid-16th century English and Spanish audience. Quite remarkable for an English mass is the use of a canon in the second Agnus movement. This practice was virtually obligatory in contemporary European mass composition. The mass survived in an extremely fragmentary state, and what is heard this evening is a reconstruction by Sally Dunkley and David Wulstan. They were able to reconstruct the Gloria, Sanctus/Benedictus, and Agnus Dei. The missing movements are replaced: the Kyrie is presented in plain chant, but troped according to the Sarum Rite.

"Interspersed between the three statements of this movement are the second and third verses of Tallis’ only explicitly strophic composition, O Lord in Thee is All My Trust. The Credo movement is here replaced by Tallis’ brilliant setting of O Sacrum convivium, itself a text praising the wonder of the sacred feast of Holy Communion. Around these five structural pillars representing the five movements of the Mass Ordinary are placed other pieces which act as reminders of other types of celebrations and feasts. The French carols and chansons as well as the anonymous English songs and those by Henry VIII and William Cornysh are typical of the music which would have accompanied secular feasts throughout the Renaissance. The two other major Tallis motets Videte miraculum and Suscipe quaeso as well as his famous anthem If ye Love Me offer a glimpse of Tallis’ other styles of composition in their contrast with the mass movements. The Videte miraculum offers a suitable introduction to the theme of celebration, as its texts marvels at the wonder of the annunciation, the fundamental theological basis upon which the Christmas festival is built. If ye Love Me and Suscipe quaeso act as suitably subdued and reflective statements to bring a close to this varied and joyous programme."


Thomas Tallis (c. 1505-1585):

Videte miraculum
O Lord in thee is all my trust

William Cornysh Jr. (c. 1468-1523):

Ah the sighs

Richard Pygott (c. 1485-1549)

Quid petis O fili
Deus creator (Kyrie I)

Thomas Tallis
No, no, not so!
(O Lord in thee, vers 2)

Christe rex unice (Kyrie II)

Thomas Tallis

Haste now, O Lord
(O Lord in thee, vers 3)

Consolatur Spiritus (Kyrie III)

Thomas Tallis

Missa Puer natus est :

Anonymous early 16th century:

Time to pass with goodly sport

Heinrich Isaac (c. 1450-1517):

Amy souffrez que je vous ayme

Henry VIII (1491-1547):

Lusty youth should us ensue

Thomas Tallis:

Mihi autem nimis

Hayne van Ghizeghem (c. 1445-c.1495)

De tous bien plane

Thomas Tallis:

O sacrum convivium

Henry VIII:

Whereto should I express
Pastime with good company

Thomas Tallis

Missa Puer natus est

William Cornysh Jr.:

Adieu, corage, adieu

Anonymous early 16th century:

If I had wit for to endite

Thomas Tallis

Missa Puer natus est:
Agnus Dei

Thomas Tallis

If ye love me
Suscipe quaeso

Composer Info

Thomas Tallis (c. 1505-1585), William Cornysh Jr. (c. 1468-1523), Richard Pygott (c. 1485-1549), Heinrich Isaac (c. 1450-1517), Henry VIII (1491-1547), Hayne van Ghizeghem (c. 1445-c.1495)

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