Hieronymus Praetorius: Missa Tulerunt Dominum Meum

Hieronymus Praetorius: Missa Tulerunt Dominum Meum
Siglo de Oro, Patrick Allies
Delphian DCD34208. 59’27

Hieronymus Praetorius is one of the finest, but one of the least-known, of the magnificent sequence of North German organist-composers centred around Hamburg during the 17th century.  He represents what to many is a surprising reflection of the state of music in Hamburg in the years before the influence of the Amsterdam-trained generation of Sweelinck pupils. These included Hieronymus’s own sons, Jacob II and Johannes, together with Samual Scheidt, Heinrich Scheidemann and Melchior Schildt.  In the ‘family-business’ world of German organists, Hieronymus was the son of an organist (Jacob I) and eventually replaced him as organist of the Hamburg Jacobikirche.  Continue reading

Baroque Voices at The Music Room

Baroque Voices at The Music Room
Rachel Ambrose Evans, Joy Smith
The Music Room, 26 October 2017

One of the most rewarding aspects of this reviewing lark has been spotting talented young musicians in the early stages of their musical careers. There are several well-known singers who I first noticed singing in choirs, and many instrumentalists who I first heard in their student days. One such singer is the soprano Rachel Ambrose Evans, who I first noticed after a tiny step-out-from-the-choir role in a Proms concert and, shortly afterwards, as a chorus fairy in a production of the Fairy Queen, noticing on both occasions what I consider to be an ideal ‘early music’ voice. That early music voice was very apparent in Rachel’s concert with harpist Joy Smith in The Music Room, hidden away above an antique emporium close to London’s Oxford Street, and until now used as an exhibition and events space. It was part of a new series of lunchtime concerts. Continue reading

London Festival of Baroque Music

‘Baroque at the Edge: pushing the boundaries’
London Festival of Baroque Music
St John’s, Smith Square & Westminster Abbey
12-20 May 2017

IMG_20170515_091152885.jpgAfter reforming, renaming, and regrowing itself from the long-running Lufthansa Festival, the London Festival of Baroque Music has become, phoenix-like, one of the most important early music festivals in London. Under the banner of ‘Baroque at the Edge: pushing the boundaries‘, this year’s LFBM used the music of Monteverdi and Telemann, from either end of the Baroque (and both with anniversaries this year) to explore ‘some of the chronological, geographical and stylistic peripheries of Baroque Music’. With one exception, all the concerts were held in the Baroque splendour of St John’s, Smith Square. 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