Last revised: 29/01/05
‘The music which was within was a marvellous thing to behold, .. for there was such a fine concert as might never be seen’. Such is the report of Andrés Muñoz, a Spanish courtier, in his account of the marriage service and all the other festivities surrounding Philip II’s visit to Winchester for the royal wedding in 1554. 450 years later, Index Cantorum and Les Haulz et les Bas present a programme of choral and instrumental music to recreate the occasion, celebrating the best examples of musical writing from the two courts. The music of the era characteristically has a warm, lavish sound generated by layers of voices and instruments, which can be admired for its careful crafting, in the same way as other works of art featured in the Philip and Mary exhibition, or in the architecture of the cathedral itself. Each of the pieces included has a special link with the English court of Mary Tudor, or the Spanish courts and Holy Roman Empire of Philip II. Works specially featured are
- Mundy Vox Patris Caelestis; at 17 minutes, a work so long in the context of Renaissance motets, it is comparable to a modern day symphony. The text is based on the Song of Songs, especially suited to subject of love and marriage.
- Escobedo, Gloria from Missa Philippus Rex Hispaniae; written either for the coronation of the Spanish monarch or as flattery in order to obtain a good pension. The mass is based on a cantus firmus that repeats the words ‘Philip, King of Spain.
- Tallis, Suscipe Quaeso Domine; the text is that of a penitential collect which, it has been suggested, would have been suitable for Cardinal Pole’s absolution of England from protestant ‘heresy’ in November 1554.
- Parsons, O Bone Jesu; The peculiar text, a group of different psalm verses interleaved with “O” acclamations in Latin, Hebrew, and Greek, is a special devotional collection of the age known as “St. Bernard’s Verses; a secret formula of psalm verses that, if recited daily, would hold the Devil powerless.
Full Programme listing