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.
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!
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.