A reminder that I shall be conducting the BBC Singers live on BBC Radio Three this Friday, February 27th. The broadcast starts at 7.00pm and runs to 9.15pm with a 20 minute interval at about 7.50pm. You can find it at www.bbc.co.uk/radio3 and then by following the links to the programme being currently broadcast. I shall be interviewed live from the platform during the concert. I would underline that the programme includes Mundy’s unbelievably splendid Vox patris caelestis.
Here is what the Radio Three website says about the first half, the interval talk, and then the second half:
Mahan Esfahani (harpsichord/organ)
Peter Phillips (conductor)
Thomas Tallis: Loquebantur variis linguis
John Sheppard: Laudem dicite Deo
Wiliam Byrd: Miserere a 3; Fantasia
William Mundy: Vox patris caelestis.
From St Paul’s Church, Knightsbridge in London. Presented by Catherine Bott.
The BBC Singers, conducted by Peter Philips, explore the sacred music of the Tudor period, featuring some of the English composers who weathered the storm as the church swung violently between Catholic and Protestant regimes. The concert title – As I went to Walsingham – comes from a folk tune commemorating England’s greatest Catholic shrine, ruthlessly destroyed by Henry VIII.
The programme celebrates the music of some of the greatest Catholic composers of the era and includes an elaborate motet in praise of the Virgin Mary by William Mundy, examples of Latin church music by Thomas Tallis and John Sheppard, and pieces by William Byrd and Philippe de Monte, which are coded messages of despair and support for the plight of English Catholics.
Sean Street is joined by Eamon Duffy, Professor of the History of Christianity at Cambridge University, to tell the story of the Norfolk village of Walsingham and explore its reputation as ‘The English Nazareth’. Its name was given to the famous song of Pilgrimage As I Went to Walsingham.
Through music, poetry, prayers and 16th-century accounts, they explore the historical and contemporary significance of pilgrimage, and also talk to monks, pilgrims, shopkeepers and the landlord of the pub that once was set on fire – by pilgrims. The duo also visit the site of Richeldis’ original shrine, the Slipper Chapel – where people still come today to cast off their shoes to complete their journey barefoot – and the Anglican shrine with its replica of the Holy House.
Walsingham first came to prominence in 1061, when Richeldis de Faverches, wife of the lord of the manor, was taken in a vision to Nazareth and commanded by the Virgin to build a replica in Norfolk of the Holy House of the Annunciation. Just under a century later, Augustinian canons built a priory beside the ‘Holy House’ and the cult of Walsingham grew up, with visits from monarchs such as Edward I, Queen Anne and Henry VIII.
The second half:
Philippe de Monte: Super flumina Babylonis
William Byrd: Quomodo cantabimus; Walsingham
John Bull: Fantasia XII
Peter Phillips: Ave verum corpus
Richard Dering: Ave verum corpus
William Byrd: Miserere a 4
Peter Phillips: Pavan
William Byrd: O Lord, make thy servant Elizabeth our Queen.