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Resurrexit

INDEX CANTORUM

Director:  Mark Williams

St Lawrence Church, The Square, Winchester

7.30 pm Saturday 13th April 2002
   

Resurrexi

William Byrd

Regina Coeli

Josquin des Prez

Christ rising again

Thomas Tallis

Dum transsisett

John Taverner

Regina coeli

Tomas Luis da Victoria

Surrexit pastor bonus

Tomas Luis da Victoria

Воскресение Христово

Serge Rachmaninov

Interval (10 minutes)

Victimae Paschali Laudes

Plainchant

Dic nobis Maria

Giovanni Bassano

Christ rising again

William Byrd

Regina coeli

Robert White

Terra tremuit

William Byrd

Regina coeli

Herbert Howells

Haec Dies

William Byrd


Putting the penitential season of Lent behind us, with its superb settings of Lamentations or Passions, we enter the festive season of Eastertide.  Surprisingly, the supply of words and music at this festive time of the Church’s year is less prolific.  Texts are based almost solely on the gospel accounts of the Resurrection itself, which in themselves are short and factual, rather than descriptive and full of imagery.  Musical settings broadly fall into categories of gospel narratives, describing the visit to the empty tomb by Mary Magdalene in the early morning after the Sabbath, devotional pieces such as the antiphon Regina Coeli (Queen of Heaven), and in the reformed English liturgy, the Easter Anthems, drawn from St Paul’s commentary in the letter to the Corinthians and Romans, and adopted in the Book of Common Prayer.  A universal word in all the works is ‘Alleluia, ‘God be praised’.  Used abundantly, it defines the mood of Eastertide, and is stated at every opportunity, between verses, stanzas, almost as punctuation; the programme contains 29 instances, before accounting for the number of voices and their polyphonic treatment.

Expressing the emotion, drama and joy of Easter in music could be a daunting prospect for any musician, and many of the works performed have a certain degree of restraint compared to music for other seasons in the composer’s repertoire, almost as if there were some apprehension as to whether the work would be received as joyful, worthy, and spiritually uplifting enough. Also in Renaissance times a musician would need to provide music on command for his patron that lived up to the splendours of an Easter celebration.  The composers whose works are presented excel in their art of inspiration through glorious sound: