Last updated: 16 August 2023

For more information on concerts, special services and workshops I am giving in the next few months, please see below:

Event Information:

  • Sat

    If ye love me…? – Polyphony we shouldn’t take for granted

    2:30 pmOnline talk for SWEMF
    Advance booking essential, via this link: click here
    Although this event is free to attend, please consider making a donation.
    I'm delighted to be giving a live talk for the South West Early Music Forum.
    A handful of much-loved motets and anthems are such staples of the sacred choral repertoire that it’s easy to treat them as ‘part of the furniture’. Our dog-eared copies of the Oxford Book of Tudor Anthems gather dust on the shelf as we seek out novel and challenging repertoire.
    In this session, I will champion 'miraculous miniatures' including Tallis’s If ye love me and Byrd’s Ave verum corpus, in the hope of reminding you why they are such gloriously successful pieces of music.
    For many choral singers, such repertoire forms their first experience of early music, and it’s easy to forget how good they are.
    - How and why did these canonical pieces survive the vicissitudes of history?
    - What purpose did they serve in their own time, and how have they come to epitomise a particular era of English music?
    This is a fascinating story of sectarianism, national identity, changing tastes and competing performance traditions.
    As well as looking afresh at the notes, this talk explores the musical and religious contexts around these familiar gems — Tallis composing for the new Anglican liturgy, Byrd serving a recusant Catholic context —each drawing on continental models to create pieces we now regard as the epitome of the English choral tradition.