New titles, collaborations and projects
2023 has been a busy year so far for editing with several dozen new titles added to the catalogue and some exciting commissions and projects undertaken. I was delighted to collaborate with Ensemble Pro Victoria in their recent recording project focussing on the works of Francisco Garro in his 400th anniversary year. I supplied editions for two of his Masses, two motets and two antiphons and we believe this to be the first recording dedicated to Garro’s music. The disc is planned to be released on the Delphian label in early 2024.
Regular visitors may have also have noticed a new section added to my site in January 2023. Cantus Firmus Music was set up by Timothy Symons to publish high quality editions of Renaissance music. Tim died of cancer in September 2022 and I was honoured to be asked by his family to take on his catalogue and help preserve his wonderful legacy of dedicated editorial work. You can read more about Tim’s work and view his collection here.
I am currently engaged in a long-term project with the Cambridge-based ensemble De profundis. They have begun a cycle of concerts and recordings of the complete Masses and Magnificats of Cristóbal de Morales and I am delighted to be providing brand new editions for the majority of pieces. The first recording appeared in March 2023 and the second instalment – featuring Morales’s Missa pro Defunctis a5 – will appear in 2024. I look forward to adding the editions to this site as the project progresses. For more information, please follow this link.
For my own catalogue, new additions for 2023 so far include the complete Masses of Juan Esquivel, music from John Amner’s Sacred Hymnes, an exploration of the motets of Fernando de las Infantas and a series of Palestrina’s Masses as I look ahead to his 500th anniversary of birth in 2025. Many of these pieces are still little-known and it has been a joy to edit and study them and I hope they will prove inspiring pieces for choirs to sing. Highlights include:
Finally, on my desk, is a selection of motets from a very special set of partbooks housed in the library of Valencia’s Real Colegio-Seminario de Corpus Christi. This source is a valuable record of Spanish polyphony – several pieces contained within it are unica – but Flemish and Italian composers all feature and the scribe who compiled it clearly had excellent taste. The names, particularly of the Spaniards, are obscure today (Ribera, Gay, Comes, Cotes, to name a few) but they represent a treasure trove of music and I look forward to sharing the music over the coming months!
2023 Anniversary offers – “1623”
Happy New Year! 2023 sees the Early Music world mark the 400th anniversary of the death of William Byrd, perhaps the finest English composer of the 16th century. When I began editing professionally, he was one of the first composers I turned to and I’m thrilled to have built up a collection of over 50 of his works in my catalogue. Some are well-known and much-loved, such as Ne Irascaris or the Masses for Four and Five Voices, but I have also tried to focus on some of his less familiar Latin motes and English Psalm settings.
Browse the complete Byrd collection here and take advantage of my anniversary offer code by entering “1623” at the checkout (or quote in a direct message) for 20% discount on all my Byrd editions as we celebrate his wonderful legacy!
1623 also saw the death of another composer in my catalogue – Francisco Garro. He was a Spaniard but his most significant employment was in Portugal (then under Spanish control) serving as Chapel Master at the Royal Court in Lisbon. His music was among the first to be published in Portugal and, though only a few dozen pieces survive, we can see the work of a craftsman equal in skill to other leading and more renowned Iberian composers of the age.
The offer code “1623” also applies a 20% discount to any purchase of Garro scores and I hope this year will provide an opportunity to explore the music of a somewhat neglected figure. Highlights include:
Autumn 2022 update
It’s been a busy but very exciting few months at Gareth Thomas Music! With the return of large-scale singing activities after the COVID-19 pandemic, I was pleased to be able to supply scores for several singing courses held over the summer, in both the UK and in Europe. In addition to scores, I was also thrilled to provide programme notes for Stile Antico and Sansara for their forthcoming anniversary programmes celebrating William Byrd and Sebastián de Vivanco.
In October, I was invited to lead a workshop on Mensural Notation and singing from original sources at the Harz Fire Biennale in Sangerhausen, Germany. We used Tallis’s In manus tuas as the basis of the sessions and it offered a wonderful insight into what it might have been like to perform this music in the 16th century, whilst also showing new perspectives on the performance and editing of works for modern choirs. It’s a fascinating exercise and I encourage all singers – professional and amateur – to try it out!
The 400th anniversary of the death of Sebastián de Vivanco has been a major focus of my editing work this year. On 26th October – exactly 400 years since his death – I was delighted to sing a special anniversary Evensong at Holy Sepulchre, London (the National Musicians’ Church and one of my regular choirs) to mark the occasion. The service included Vivanco’s settings of Aperi oculos tuos, Domine, Magnificat Octavi toni a8 and Veni dilecte mi and I’m very grateful to the church for allowing us to mark the occasion with such splendid music! There’s still time to take advantage of my anniversary discount code. Use the code “vivanco400” at the checkout to take advantage of this offer (valid until the end of 2022)! View my collection here.
Finally, on my desk currently are a selection of motets from the little-known Spanish composer Don Fernando de las Infantas. I look forward to publishing my new editions of these interesting pieces over the coming months.
Scores for Researchers
Whilst my scores are primarily intended for performers, they are also freely available to Academics and those engaged in research. Please use the contact form to order free perusal scores for research purposes (subject to a small admin fee).
Vivanco Anniversary Offer
Happy New Year to all my supporters! 2022 marks the 400th anniversary of the death of Sebastián de Vivanco, one the leading Spanish composers of the Renaissance era. He was a chorister alongside Victoria at Ávila Cathedral but his music does not currently enjoy the same level of fame as that of his illustrious contemporary – few copies of his publications survive and they are often heavily mutilated. Throughout this anniversary year, I’m offering a 20% discount on all my Vivanco editions as I hope to bring his music to a wider audience and demonstrate why he ranks alongside the finest composers of his day. Use the code “vivanco400” at the checkout to take advantage of this offer (valid all through 2022)! View my collection here or see some highlights below:
The Cellar of Forgotten Notes
Over the past 12 months, I have had the enormous privilege of collaborating with the renowned musicologist Bruno Turner, typesetting his hand-written editions for his new collection “The Cellar of Forgotten Notes – an anthology of rare Spanish polyphony”. Bruno will be known to many through his fabulous editions published by Mapa mundi (which he co-founded in 1977). In these new editions (which are entirely public domain and may be performed freely), Bruno seeks to shed light on some of the lesser-known figures of Renaissance Spanish music with 12 specially selected pieces. All are available for both low-voiced choirs and mixed-voice choirs and several have been specially recorded by Stile Antico. To read Bruno’s commentaries and view the complete scores, click here.
I was recently commissioned by The Marian Consort and Spiritato to produce a new performing edition of a very exciting cantata by Johann Pachelbel: Gott sei uns gnädig, PWV 1209. The piece is impressively scored – it calls for 5 trumpets, timpani, 2 violins, 4 violas, Basso continuo and 5-part choir – and it was great fun to get to know this fabulous but little-known gem! It was performed at St Giles Cripplegate, London on 28th October – the concert was filmed and it can be viewed on demand here.
Throughout 2021 I’m offering a discount on all my Josquin and Philippe de Monte editions to mark their respective quincentenaries this year. Simply use the code “jdppdm500” at the checkout (or quote it in your message if ordering via the contact form) and you’ll receive a 20% discount on pieces by these composers! The offer is valid throughout 2021 and also includes pieces connected with these composers, such as Richafort’s Requiem and Gombert’s Musae Jovis.
Just a quartet
I’ve had a number of requests and recommendations for my favourite pieces in my collection for just 4 singers as choirs adjust to the current restrictions on numbers and social distancing requirements. Here are some of my suggestions (please feel free to get in touch if you would like more ideas!):
Autumn 2020 update
A couple of my editions feature on recently released recordings from two of the UK’s finest ensembles! The Queen’s Six, a vocal consort drawn from the ranks of the Lay Clerks at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, included my edition of Alonso Lobo’s O quam suavis on their latest album Journeys to the New World, a disc of Iberian polyphony found in New World sources.
In October, The Choir of Magdalen College, Oxford released an anthology celebrating the musical legacy at Magdalen – Sing, precious music – and I’m thrilled that their recording of my edition of John Sheppard’s Kyrie Lux et origo represents one of Magdalen’s most illustrious former musicians.
Elsewhere, I’ve been busy making various additions to my collection, particularly within my Spanish and Portuguese selections. There are brand new editions of works by Duarte Lobo, Sebastián de Vivanco and Francisco Garro as well as a series of motets by Vicente Lusitano, “the first Black published composer” according to the musicologist Robert Stevenson. These are all ongoing projects and I look forward to publishing more pieces by these under-appreciated composers over the coming months.
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!
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.