Saturday 9 December 2017
St Peter’s Church, St Peter’s Street
St Albans AL1 3HG
John Gibbons conductor
TRAVEL BACK TO TUDOR AND STUART TIMES for a concert of glorious music written by the musicians of the royal court for performance at church services around Christmastime.
The centrepiece is the seven-part Mass Puer natus est nobis (A boy is born to us) by Thomas Tallis, believed to have been composed for a flamboyant ceremony in St Paul’s Cathedral on Christmas Day 1554 following the recent marriage of Queen Mary Tudor and King Philip II of Spain.
The earliest piece in the concert comes from the early 1500s – Quid petis, o fili? (What do you seek, my son?), a Christmas carol in both English and Latin by Richard Pygott, a member of Henry VIII’s Chapel Royal.
John Sheppard was another Gentleman of the Chapel Royals of Henry VIII, Edward VI and Mary. He wrote the responsory Verbum caro factus est (The Word was made flesh) to be sung at Matins on Christmas Day.
William Byrd’s set of six Christmas and Epiphany motets O magnum mysterium – Beata Virgo, Hodie Christus natus est, Puer natus est nobis, Surge, illuminare Jerusalem, Viderunt omnes and Tui sunt coeli were composed in 1607 for private Roman Catholic ceremonies during a period of religious persecution by Mary’s successor, the Protestant Elizabeth I.
Two musicians from the Chapel Royal of the Stuart king James I are also represented. Robert Ramsey wrote the lament Sleep, fleshly birth following the untimely death of James’s older son Prince Henry in 1612, while Orlando Gibbons was organist at Westminster Abbey in 1616 when he composed the beautiful anthem See, see the Word is incarnate, setting an extraordinary text which covers the whole of the liturgical year.
The music will be interspersed with seasonal readings by members of the choir.
We look forward to welcoming you to St Peter’s Church to hear some wonderful music then to meet the performers and enjoy some Tudor-style refreshments in the hall afterwards.
Tickets £15 (£5 child/student)
Call 07570 454744 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org