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Crown of Glory
Sat 28 Mar , 7:30 pm| £12
William Mundy: Vox Patris
Palestrina Missa Papae Marcelli
Parsons Ave Maria
Guerrero Ave Virgo Sanctissima
The Durham Singers, directed by Julian Wright
Two jewels in the crown of Renaissance polyphony, written at almost the same time, but very different in style. William Mundy’s Vox Patris Caelestis, possibly written in honour of Mary Tudor, is a complex and lavish setting of a text inspired by the Song of Songs. Long interweaving melodic lines caress the most sensuous words and Mundy uses the full expressive pallette of the choir, creating striking effects from different combinations of parts, sometimes just two or three, and sometimes six or seven.
Such gloriously complex music alarmed the reforming Council of Trent, who were so concerned that the text was unintelligible that they threatened to ban polyphony altogether. In writing his Missa Papae Marcelli, Palestrina rose magnificently to this challenge, proving that it was possible to write polyphony with crystal clear text. The Missa Papae Marcelli is one of Palestrina’s best loved pieces, full of gorgeous tunes and graceful interplay between the voices. Pope Marcellus himself only reigned for three weeks, but his name shines on in Palestrina’s luminous music, which was frequently sung at Papal coronations.
This musical snapshot of mid-sixteenth century Catholic Europe begins with contrasting motets for the Virgin Mary by Robert Parsons from England and Francisco Guerrero from Spain.
Tickets £12 / students and under 25s £10 / children 13 and under free
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