Christopher Tye – Peccavimus cum patribus


per 10 copies

22 pages. SATTBarBB.

Click here to view a sample of this piece.

The brief reign of Mary I (1553-8) saw England return to Roman Catholicism. In the first months of her reign, there was an atmosphere within the court of reconciliation and repentance on behalf of the country. It has been suggested therefore that Tye composed this grand antiphon around this time in acknowledgement of English religious error over the previous decades (We have sinned with our fathers…). Other evidence for this date of composition includes the fact that the traditional English practice of using a 6-voice texture is expanded to 7, a Marian number. Parallels had been drawn between the Mary the virgin and the supposedly pregnant English Queen in 1554-5 and several other English composers – notably Tallis – would write some of the finest 7-part polyphony ever composer during Mary I’s reign. Futhermore, the piece bares all the hallmarks of the final flowering of English Catholic liturgical music and Tye’s own stylistic features, such as unexpected cadential progressions and bold harmonic gestures, are easily perceived in this magnificent piece.

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