2021 is a significant year for composer anniversaries: The year 1521 saw the death of Robert Fayrfax and Josquin des Prez and also the birth of Philippe de Monte. I have chosen to focus on the latter two Franco-Flemish masters for this 500th anniversary year.
Josquin des Prez needs little introduction. Arguably the finest composer of his day, he has come to define the music of the early 16th century and his shadow loomed large over the composers of the following decades. He composed in a huge variety of styles and genres but I have focussed on his Motets and Masses. Highlights of my catalogue include the gorgeous Marian sequence Inviolata, integra, et casta es, Maria, his “musical invoice” Memor esto verbi tui and perhaps his most famous Mass setting Missa Pange lingua. I’m also pleased to have available my edition of Jean Richafort’s Missa pro defunctis, a piece the composer dedicated to the memory of Josquin, and Gombert’s extraordinary setting of a lament on the death of Josquin Musae Jovis.
Despite being one of the most prolific composers of the 16th century, Philippe de Monte is a less well-known figure today. Like Josquin, he composed in almost every available genre to him and whilst his output may seem somewhat impenetrable, I have selected 16 pieces that hopefully demonstrate why I think he deserves to be performed more regularly today. The series is centered around de Monte’s 1587 Book of Masses. These range from the succinct and intimate Missa Emitte Domine to the lavish and grand Missa Cum sit omnipotens and Missa Confitebor tibi Domine and are typical of de Monte’s period of employment at the Hapsburg court in Prague. Alongside the Masses are a selection of motets for a wide variety of forces, abilities and liturgical occasions, including the famous setting of Super flumina Babylonis (sent to William Byrd in the 1580s).
I hope you enjoy browsing these collections and that 2021 presents an opportunity for the music of these two great composers to be heard by a wider audience.
New Collaborations (Part 2)
Following on from last month’s announcement of my collaboration with Daniel Thomson, I’m delighted to introduce the work of another editor: Countertenor Alexander Turner sings with some the UK’s leading ensembles including The Sixteen and London’s Cathedral and Collegiate choirs. Alongside his performing career he is active as an editor and arts administrator and I am thrilled to add his edition of Tye’s Peccavimus cum patribus to my collection, first edited as part of his dissertation at Royal Holloway University of London. Alex says:
I came across this monumental piece during my investigation of the ‘Baldwin Partbooks’ and the music of Christopher Tye as part of my dissertation. These large-scale works are often unjustly neglected because of their perceived complexity, but I hope to prove that with a clear and concise edition, this work can be more accessible, and readily enjoyed. It’s totally worth it for the standout ‘Jesu’ cadence near the start of the piece which I hope will get performers and listeners talking more about Tye’s music!’
Alex and I are currently planning a series of other editions and I look forward to publishing these over the coming months.
New Collaborations (Part 1)
Until now the music on this site has been edited by myself and virtually all of it has been sacred in nature. However, I’m delighted to announce an exciting new collaboration.
Daniel Thomson is a London-based Tenor and an experienced performer of 16th and 17th century music. He has edited John Dowland’s complete First Book of Songs or Ayres (1597) and I am thrilled to be publishing his editions of this seminal work on this site. A priority for both our respective editorial activities is ease of use in performance. One of the main issues with previous editions of Dowland’s vocal music has been only the first verse of text is provided under the music. Mindful of this, Daniel has underlaid the text for each verse of every song, drawing on his own experience of singing this wonderful music and his studies at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Basel, Switzerland. He writes:
I have sung these works many times and it was great to tackle the underlay of each verse to fit the text to the notes in a way that works both rhetorically and structurally well with the other parts. I hope this helps anyone singing these incredible songs, whether experienced or trying them out for the first time!
This is an exciting new venture for Daniel and me and I hope customers will enjoy exploring this new addition to my catalogue!
It has come to my attention that it would be useful to indicate vocal ranges at the beginning of my scores. This information will now be included in all new editions from 2020 onwards and I will also endeavour to update pieces already published here too. With over 400 individual editions in my collection, this will inevitably take a great deal of time so please bear with me whilst I undertake this task. However, for reference in the mean time, please click on the link or see the picture below giving the typical ranges found in my editions:
Advent Calendar 2019
Looking for some new seasonal music? Throughout December 2019, I made an Advent Calendar of my Editions on my Twitter Feed of my favourite Advent, Christmas and Epiphany music from my collection: The complete list is now available to browse below:
1. William Byrd – Vigilate
2. Francisco Guerrero – Alma redemptoris mater
3. William Mundy – Sive vigilem
4. Morales – Inter natos mulierum
5. William Byrd – Ecce virgo concipiet
6. Philippe Rogier – Paries quidem filium
7. Alonso Lobo – Missa Prudentes virgines
8. William Byrd – Rorate caeli
9. Francisco Guerrero – Missa Sancta et immaculata
10. Tomás Luis de Victoria – Alma redemptoris mater
11. Robert Parsons – Ave Maria
12. Philippe Rogier – Missa Inclita stirps Jesse
13. William Byrd – Attollite portas
14. Alonso Lobo – Ave Maria
15. Jacobus Clemens non Papa – Missa Pastores, quidnam vidistis
16. Jacobus Clemens non Papa – Pastores, quidnam vidistis
17. Tomás Luis de Victoria – O magnum mysterium
18. William Byrd – O magnum mysterium
19. Jacobus Clemens non Papa – Angelus Domini a5
20. Morales – Magnificat Octavi toni
21. Orlandus Lassus – Omnes de Saba
22. Tomás Luis de Victoria – Missa O magnum mysterium
23. William Byrd – Puer natus est nobis
24. Giovanni Pierlugi da Palestrina – Hodie Christus natus est a8
25. John Sheppard – Verbum caro
I strive to make my editions both performer friendly and academically informed. Where necessary, I provide suggestions of suitable musica ficta above the stave but it should be noted that Directors need not feel bound to my decisions if they prefer alternative ficta. For example, in my editions of Clemens Ego flos campi and Tallis Loquebantur variis linguis, I have suggested flattening the leading notes at cadences, creating much stronger false relations. However, this will not work in every performance scenario (nor will it be to everyone’s taste). As with all my ficta suggestions, I believe they are plausible outcomes but for the reasons outlined above, Directors may choose to follow or ignore my suggestions as necessary.
Summer 2019 update – 200 Titles!
Most of my editing so far in 2019 has been dedicated to the music of Clemens non Papa and Francisco Guerrero. The series of 16 titles by Clemens non Papa represents only a tiny fraction of his output and yet today he is little known beyond his stunning Ego flos campi. A quick examination of his music shows he was no one-hit-wonder and I am delighted to have 5 Masses and 11 motets available. The Masses in particular have unjustly fallen into obscurity and I hope these new editions will rekindle interest in these glorious pieces.
The Guerrero series was centered around the 7 Mass Ordinary settings he published in his first book of Masses (1566), containing some of his finest works in the genre – Missa Sancta et immaculata is a personal favourite of mine! All 7 are masterpieces, showing Guerrero’s compositional abilities at their most complex (canonical writing and ostinati are often employed) whilst still taking into account the Council of Trent’s desire for more intelligible polyphonic music. The final Mass in the series – Missa In te Domine speravi – also marked a personal achievement for me as it was my 200th individual title in my collection! Alongside the Masses, I have also published a selection of Motets covering a variety of liturgical themes and voicings and I hope these pieces will demonstrate why Guerrero deserves to be ranked alongside his illustrious contemporaries Victoria and Morales.
I’m now beginning to turn my attention towards future composer anniversaries: In anticipation of the 500th anniversary of Josquin’s death in 2021, I have added Jean Richafort’s Missa Pro defunctis (written in memory of Josquin) to my collection am planning a series of Josquin motets. Finding a suitable pitch for modern SATB choirs is often tricky with late 15th/early 16th century music (the concept did not exist then) but I hope to find a workable compromise to ensure the widest possible audience can appreciate Josquin’s work!
New Year, new composers
Happy New Year from Gareth Thomas Music! 2018 was a busy year with over 80 new titles published here on the website – some pieces for the first time at pitches suitable for SATB choirs! My series of works by Cristóbal de Morales, completed in the Autumn of 2018, featured a number of these, including his Missa Ave maris stella and Missa Benedicta es caelorum regina.
2019 promises to be a very exciting time for new editions. I’m currently midway through editing a selection of works by Clemens “non Papa”. His fame today rests on only a handful of works – particularly his wonderful setting of Ego flos campi a7 – but he was a prolific composer, writing over 200 motets and 15 Masses. With this new series, I’m hoping to make some of his other sacred works more well-known – much of it is not easily available in modern editions. Currently 10 motets and 1 Mass are available with 4 more more Masses in the pipeline.
I’ve also added my first few pieces by Francisco Guerrero to my collection; The famous canonical motet Ave virgo Sanctissima and his Missa Congratulamini mihi (complimenting my edition of Crecquillon’s motet of the same name). During the course of 2019, I’ll be working my way through his first book of Masses, published in Paris in 1566, and look forward to sharing these wonderful settings in due course.
Finally, I’m taking the opportunity to get ahead on some Easter, Ascensiontide and Pentecost music by looking at Byrd’s settings for the these Feasts from his Gradualia publications. As is so often the case with Byrd’s later works, finding a suitable pitch for SATB choirs is often an issue (vocal ranges of nearly 2 octaves are not uncommon!) but that is one of the challenges of editing this glorious music!
Summer 2018 update
Recently I’ve been making a concerted effort to ensure I have a good range of simple 4-part SATB repertoire available. This new series comprises Motets, Masses and Canticles and the composers represented include Byrd, Lobo, Palestrina, Tye and Victoria. As usual, there is a mix of well-known and less familiar music on offer and you can view this continually-expanding collection here.
I’m thrilled to be supplying scores for various ensembles and courses this summer, including Genesis Sixteen and The Early Music Academy. Genesis Sixteen will be looking at Vigilate and EMA will be studying Taverner’s Western Wind Mass, as well my revision of Percy Buck’s edition of Tallis’s Lamentations (I hope to have the latter available on the website in due course).
Finally, on my desk at the moment is a selection of motets by Palestrina (mostly from his Song of Songs collection) and, following on from my recent edition of Gaude plurimum, I’ve set myself the daunting task of editing Taverner’s Missa Gloria tibi Trinitas, arguably his finest work. I look forward to publishing this glorious music over the coming weeks
A personal milestone – 200 and counting!
I’m delighted to say that following the publication of Palestrina’s Magnificat Primi Toni a8, it takes the total number of editions I have available to 200! Thank you to everyone who has helped me this far – my customers, my musical colleagues – but particularly Jamie Wright without who’s technical support (and patience!) this website would never have been built.
I’m always looking to add new repertoire to my collection – please do get in touch via the contact form to make requests – and I look forward to sharing many more editions here. Here’s to the next 200…!
April 2018 update – Crecquillon, Victoria and site improvements
The lead-up to Easter was a particularly busy period with singing work but I did manage to complete a series of pieces by the Flemish composer Thomas Crecquillon (c.1505-c.1557) during March. Despite being one of the greatest composers of his generation, his music today is not well-known outside of academic circles and deserves to be heard more often. I’m very pleased to have four Motets and three Masses available, including the stunning Missa Mort m’a privé. As always, editions are available for both high and low voice choirs and sold in multiples of 10.
My next project is a new series of works by Tomás Luis de Victoria (arguably the greatest Spanish composer of the Renaissance) and will include Masses, Motets, Hymns and Magnificats. Full details of the pieces included can be found here.
Finally, I’ve also taken the time to make some improvements to the website. As well as browsing by composer, you can now browse and search for editions in all sorts of different ways, including voicing, genre, language, nationality and season/theme. Click here to find out more.
February 2018 update
It’s been a busy start to 2018 with no fewer than 13 new titles published since the beginning of the year. I began by expanding my collection of English Masses and I’m delighted to have available a number of settings by Sheppard, Tallis, Taverner and Tye. Recent additions include Tallis’s Missa Salve intemerata and the Western Wind Masses of Sheppard, Taverner and Tye. All are wonderful examples of their respective composer’s output and, unusually for English Pre-Reformation Masses, are short enough to be sung as part of modern Church services.
Staying with English music, I’ve made significant additions to my collection of music by Robert White. His Psalm motets are some of the finest examples of Tudor polyphony but good modern performing editions for SATB choirs are not readily available. Four Motets and one Respond are now available at both the written pitch and transposed up for modern mixed-voice choirs.
It’s also been a busy time for commissions and I’m very pleased to have supplied bespoke editions for Cardiff Polyphonic Choir and The Lea Singers. I hope to have these available on the website in due course.
Finally, on my desk at the moment, I have three Masses by Thomas Crecquillon – Missa Domine Deus omnipotens, Missa D’ung petit mot and Missa Mort m’a privé – and I look forward to publishing these wonderful pieces over the next few weeks.