Mon Dieu me paist

Mon Dieu me paist
Psalms by Claude Le Jeune
The Choir of St Catharine’s College, CambridgeEdward Wickham
Resonus RES10206. 58’26

This fascinating recording from the mixed-voice choir of St Catharine’s College, Cambridge under their director Edward Wickham looks at a little-known part of the late Renaissance vocal repertoire – settings of Psalms from the Genevan Psalter during the Calvinist Reformation in France composed by the Franco-Flemish composer Claude Le Jeune (c1530-1600). Le Jeune’s Psalm collection, Dodecacorde, was published in 1598. Four of the twelve multi-verse settings are performed here, each preceded by a simple harmonised setting from the Calvin Psalter. Continue reading

St Catharine’s College: O Gemma Clarissima

O Gemma Clarissima
Music in Praise of St Catharine
The Choirs of St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, Edward Wickham
Resonus Classics RES10246. 72’02

Quite by chance, I realize that I am reviewing this recording on the Feast of St Catherine, 25 November. The patron saint of wheelwrights, millers, students, and young unmarried girls, the Cambridge college that now bears her name (which they spell ‘Catharine’) was founded in 1473 as ‘Katherine Hall’. The famous torture wheel that she is usually depicted with was, apparently, destroyed by an angel before it touched her, killing many. After her beheading, more angels whisked her remains off to the Mount Sinai monastery, which became and remains a centre of devotion. A monastery in Rouen also became a pilgrimage site after a monk brought back a finger that “broke off” when he prayed for a relic.

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Laus Polyphoniae 2015 – Antwerp

Laus Polyphoniae – Antwerp

WP_20150825_19_32_43_ProThis year, Antwerp’s annual Laus Polyphoniae festival, now in its 22nd year, celebrated one it can claim as its own (at least for a period): the music copyist Petrus Alamire, creator of some of the most extraordinary music manuscripts in the decades around 1500. Born in Nuremburg, Alamire (a musical alias of Peter Imhof: A-la-mi-re)  soon moved to the Low Countries and quickly established himself as compiler of beautiful scores of music of Franco-Flemish composers, then at the peak of their importance. His clients included many of the crowned heads of Europe. His choirbooks contain more than 800 pieces, composed over a period of around 70 years, with the emphasis on masses, motets and chansons. Collectively they represent the development of the important Renaissance polyphonic style in the Low Countries and northern France. Continue reading