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Performance Details: Tuesday, 4th of October, 2005

The final glorious flowering of English medieval polyphony. Works by Ludford, Cornysh, Taverner and Tallis.

More information

Concert Programme

Taverner - Christe Jesu pastor bone
Ludford - Gloria from Missa Benedicta
Cornysh - Salve Regina
Ludford - Credo


Browne - Stabat mater
Ludford - Sanctus
Ludford - Benedictus
Tallis early works:
Euge Caeli
Ludford - Agnus Dei
Taverner - Dum transisset Sabbatum

Programme notes

Why have we called this concert Jubilare!??
"Anglici vulgariter jubilare" wrote the great medieval theorist Joannes Tinctoris in 1476. He was comparing English singers with French, whom he said " vero cantare dicuntur". This was translated by an eminent musicologist as implying that the English shouted while the French sang properly, but could this really be true?

Looking at the music of the time suggests otherwise. While Continental Franco Flemish polyphony of the time could be dense textured and ornamented, it was still written basically for a male voice choir in 4 parts. English music, on the other hand, was written for a five part choir with boys' voices divided between the very high treble and the medium voiced mean. It led to a generally much wider overall compass - up to 23 notes - and allowed for a great deal of textural variety. In fact, this late 15th and early 16th century English music stands alone in style from the rest of Europe - as did the choirs. It is a highly ornamental web of sound and colour with decorated vocal lines exploiting the full range of the voice. The exuberant style of writing would invite a forthright delivery from the singers - there is no way you can sing this music in half voice!

So maybe Tinctoris's "Jubilare" implies something more triumphant, and as to the "vulgariter"....well that is a matter of taste.


Salve Regina
Salve Regina, mater misericordiae, vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, Salve.
Ad te ciamamus exules filii Evae. Ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes in hac lacrimarum valle.
Eia ergo, advocata nostra, illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos converte,
et Jesum benedictum fructum ventris tui nobis post hoc exsilium ostende.
Virgo mater ecclesiae, aeterna porta gloriae, esto nobis refugium apud patrem et Filium.
O clemens, Virgo clemens, Virgo pia, Virgo dulcis, O Maria, exaudi preces omnium ad te pie clamantium.
O pia, funde preces tuo nato crucifixo, vulnerato, et pro nobis flagellato, spinis puncto, felle potato.
O dulcis Maria,Salve.

Hail, Queen, Mother of mercy, hail our life, our sweetness and our hope.
To you do we cry, banished children of Eve. To you we sigh, groaning and weeping in this valley of tears.
Turn, then, our advocate, those merciful eyes on us, and after this, our exile,
show us the blessed fruit of your womb, Jesus.
Virgin mother of the church, everlasting gate of glory, be a refuge for us before the Father and your Son.
O merciful and pious Virgin, sweet Virgin, O Mary, hear the prayers of all the people who cry piously to you.
O pious one, pour prayers on to your crucified and wounded Son, scourged and pierced with thorns for us, who drained the gall for us.
O sweet Mary, Hail.

Euge caeli porta
Euge caeli porta quae non aperta veritatis lumen, ipsem solem iustitiae, indutum carne, ducis in orbem.

Hail, gate of heaven, now open, the light of truth. You lead the sun of justice himself, dressed in flesh, into the world.

Jesu Christe pastor bone
Christe Jesu pastor bone, cleri fautor et patrone, smper nobis in agone confer opem et depone vitae sordes, et coronae celestis da gloriam;
Fundatorem specialem serva regem nunc henricumet ecclesiam piorum tuearecustos horum et utrumque fac vitalem eternae vitae premio.

Christ Jesus, good shepherd, patron and supporter of the clergy, always bring us help in our stuggle. Set aside the uncleanliness of life, and grant us the glory of a heavenly crown.
Preserve at this time King Henry, outstanding founder. Watch over the church of your devoted worshippers as their guardian, and make each one live with the reward of eternal life.

Quemadmodum desiderat cervus ad fontes aquarum ita desiderat anima mea ad te Deus.
Sitivit anima mea ad Deum fontem (NB most net sources say fortem here, not fontem but Maya reckons fontem is correct) vivum quando veniam et apparebo ante faciem Dei

As the hart panteth after the fountains of water;
so my soul panteth after thee, O God My soul hath thirsted after God, the living fountain; when shall I come and appear before the face of God?

Stabat mater
Stabat mater dolorosa
iuxta crucem lacrimosa,
dum pendebat filius.
Cuius animam gementem
contristatam et dolentem
pertransivit gladius.
O quam tristis et afflicta
fuit illa benedicta
Mater unigeniti!
Quae maerebat et dolebat,
dum videbat et gerebat
poenas nati incliti!
Quis est homo, qui non fleret,
Matrem Christi si videret
in tanto supplicio?
Quis non potest contristari
piam Matrem contemplari
dolentem cum filio?

Eia Mater, fons amoris,
me sentire vim doloris
fac, ut tecum lugeam!
Fac, ut ardeat cor meum
in amando Christum deum,
ut sibi complaceam!
Stabat Mater, rubens rosa
Iuxta crucem lacrimosa
Videns ferre criminosa
Nullum reum crimine
Et dum stetit generosa
Iuxta natum dolorosa
Plebs tunc canit clamorosa:
'Crucifige, crucifige'

O quam gravis illa poena
Tibi, virgo poenae plena
Commemorans praeamoena
Iam versa in maestitiam
Color erat non inventus
In te, Mater, dum detentus
Stabat natus, sic contentus
Ad debellandum Sathanam
Per haec, nata praeamata
Natum tuum, qui peccata
Delet cuncta perpetrata
Deprecare dulciflue
Ut, nostra tergens ingrata
In nobis plantet firme grata
Per quem dando praelibata
Praestet aeterna requi. Amen

The grieving mother stood weeping beside the cross where her Son was hanging Her soul sighing, anguished and grieving, was pierced by a sword O how sad and afflicted was that blessed Mother of the only -begotten! How she moaned and wept, as she saw and shared in the pains of her glorious son Who is he that would not weep if he saw the Mother of Christ in such torment? Who would not be saddened contemplating the Mother of Christ suffering with her son?

Come then mother, fount of love, make me feel the strength of your sorrow so that I may mourn with you Make my heart burn with love for Christ my God, that I may please him The Mother stood, a blushing rose in tears at the foot of the cross as she saw him undergo a criminal's fate who was guilty of no crime And as she stood with full heart grieving beside her son the crowd shouted raucously: 'Crucify him, crucify him'

O how grievous was the pain you suffered, Virgin full of sorrows when you recalled former joys now all turned to lamentation All the life drained from you, Mother, while your son stood constrained there gladly bearing his pain that Satan might be overthrown By these merits, most beloved lady, beseech your son, who takes away all the sin that we have committed with sweet and gracious prayers That, wiping away all our stain he might plant firmly in us the gifts of grace and might fulfil in us what they promise in our eternal rest. Amen

Dum Transisset Sabbatum
Dum transisset Sabbatum Maria Magdalene et Maria Jacobi et Salome emerunt aromata, ut venientes ungerent Jesum. Alleluia.
Et valde mane una sabbatorum veniunt ad monumentum, orto iam sole , ut venientes ungerent Jesum. Alleluia.
Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto. Alleluia.

And when the Sabbath was past Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint Jesus. Alleluia.
And very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb at the rising of the sun that they might come and anoint Jesus. Alleluia.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. Alleluia.