Antoine de Févin

Antoine de Févin
Missa Ave Maria & Missa Salve sancta parens
The Brabant Ensemble, Stephen Rice
Hyperion CDA68265. 79’14

Missa Ave Maria, Ascendens Christus in altum, Sancta Trinitas a5/a6,
Salve sancta parens, Missa Salve sancta parens,

Antoine de Févin (c1470-1511/12) is a relatively unknown composer of the Renaissance Franco-Flemish period He was born around 20 years after Josquin des Prez, but died about 10 years before him. For the past few years of his life, he worked in the Chapelle Royale of Louis XII of France, who apparently thought highly several chansons. His compositional style is similar to Josquin’s, who he admired. The opening Missa Ave Maria is based on Josquin’s well-known Ave Maria. His contrapuntal writing is not as strict as some of his Renaissance contemporaries. He clearly enjoys contrasting homophonic and contrapuntal passages and freely switches from one to the other. There are several magical moments, one of the finest between the Agnus II of the Missa Ave Maria where two outstanding high voices (Kate Ashby and Claire Eadington) weaves threads between themselves. Continue reading

Chapelle du Roi: The Marriage of England and Spain

The Marriage of England and Spain
Chapelle du Roi, Alistair Dixon
St John’s Smith Square, 12 December 2015

WP_20151212_20_22_14_Pro.jpgThe marriage between the Queen Mary Tudor and Philip of Spain only lasted from 1554 to Mary’s death in 1558, but the resulting musical influence lasted for many years, as demonstrated in this concert from the vocal group Chapelle du Roi. Amongst the musicians that Philip brought with him to England was Philippe de Monte, director of the Spanish Chapel Royal. He seems to have met the young William Byrd during his few months in England. Many years later, after the 1583 execution of Mary Queen of Scots and the crushing of a Catholic revolt, de Monte wrote his motet Super flumina Babylonis (‘How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land’) and sent it to Byrd. De Monte set four verses from the Psalm (137), and Byrd’s response was to write his own setting of de Monte’s final verse, adding a further three verses, and sending this motet, Quomodo Cantabimus, to de Monte.  These two pieces Continue reading