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