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Repertoire Contrapuntus and Owen Rees

Owen Rees/conductor

Programmes 2019/2020

[for ten singers]
I. Renaissance Rhetoric: Victoria’s Missa Gaudeamus

Contrapunctus explores the art of Renaissance persuasion in music. The centrepiece is Victoria’s celebratory Missa Gaudeamus, named after the repeated ostinato theme which is heard throughout the work. Victoria was here paying homage to one of the finest ‘state motets’ of the Renaissance, Morales’s Jubilate Deo, composed to mark the signing of a treaty between the greatest  powers  of  Europe,  the  Truce  of  Nice (1538).  Spanish  composers’ cultivation of rhetorical devices may have owed much to the example of Josquin Desprez, and particularly his famous setting of Salve regina, itself the model for Victoria’s majestic six-voice treatment of the same text.

Salve regina                                    Josquin Desprez (c. 1540–1521)
Jubilate Deo omnis terra                 Cristóbal de Morales (c. 1500–1553)
Missa Gaudeamus                          Thome Luis de Victoria (c. 1548–1611)
Kyrie/Gloria/ Credo

Salve regina                                    Victoria
Missa Gaudeamus                          Victoria
Ave virgo sanctissima                     Francisco Guerrero (1527/8–1599)
Surge propera amica mea              Guerrero
Ave virgo sanctissima                     Guerrero

II. The Sands of the Sea:
Psalms from the Baldwin Partbooks

Following the success and critical acclaim of Contrapunctus’ first two discs in their major survey of music from the Baldwin Partbooks, we present the third and final instalment, focusing on settings of the Psalms from that significant  source  of  Tudor  polyphony.  The  music  of  these  Latin  Psalm settings is as richly varied as their texts, exploring the gamut of emotions from sorrow and penitence to faith and joy.


Domine quis habitabit                     Robert Parsons
Peccavi super numerum                 William Byrd
Confitebor tibi Domine                   Anon.
Tristitia et anxietas                         Byrd
Domine non est exaltatum              Robert White
Confitebor tibi Domine                   John Sheppard


Confitebor tibi Domine                     William Daman
Memor esto verbi tui                        William Mundy
Portio mea                                       Robert White
Ne perdas cum impiis                      William Byrd
In te Domine speravi                         John Mundy        

III. The Prince and the Priest:
Sacred Motets of Gesualdo and Victoria

One  famous  and  one  infamous,  Victoria  and  Gesualdo  were  contemporaries working in Italy in the period of the Counter Reformation: Victoria educated by the Jesuits in Rome, and Gesualdo a nephew of the great reforming Cardinal, Carlo Borromeo, whom he venerated. But their parallel lives were worlds apart. Victoria became a priest, while Gesualdo became infamous for the double murder of his first wife and her lover. Their biographies are reflected in their output of motets, Victoria serving the liturgy of the Reformed church in Rome, and Gesualdo focusing on themes of personal penitence; Victoria never publishing any secular music, while Gesualdo drew upon the madrigal (a genre in which he gained wide recognition) as an inspiration for his motet writing. This programme throws into relief the two styles by presenting settings of the same or related texts.

Ave regina cælorum                                   Victoria
Tribulationem et dolorem inveni                  Gesualdo
O vos omnes                                             Victoria
Ardens est cor meum                                 Gesualdo
Vidi speciosam                                          Victoria
Peccantem me quotidie                              Gesualdo
Super flumina Babylonis                             Victoria

Laboravi in gemitu meo                              Gesualdo
Peccantem me quotidie                              Victoria
O anima sanctissima                                  Gesualdo
Ardens est cor meum                                 Victoria
O vos omnes                                             Gesualdo
Versa est in luctum                                    Victoria
Ave regina cælorum                                   Gesualdo

IV. Plorans ploravit:
The Lamentations of Fernando de Almeida

Here for  the first time  in concert  is  presented  the  ull double-choir Lamentations by the Portuguese monk-musician Fernando de Almeida (c.1600–1660). This is music of the highest spiritual fervour and grandeur, with long  languished  in  obscurity  in  the  library  of  the  Dukes of Bragança.
Contrapunctus here raises Almeida’s work to its rightful position among the masterworks of the Portuguese golden age.

Lamentations for Maundy Thursday                                   Fernando de Almeida (c. 1600–1660)
Responsory I for Maundy Thursday: In monte Oliveti        Almeida
Panis angelicus                                                                  João Lourenço Rebelo (1610–1661)

Lamentations for Good Friday                                Almeida
Caligaverunt oculi mei                                            Juan de Castro y Malagaray (c. 1572–1632)
Lamentations for Holy Saturday                             Almeida
Responsory II for Holy Saturday: Jerusalem, surge          Almeida


V. A Rose without Thorns:
Music for Mary by Josquin, Tallis, Byrd, and Victoria

Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the colourful imagery associated with such devotion, led to the composition of some of the most powerfully expressive music of the Renaissance. Contrapunctus explores Marian works by Spanish, English, and northern-European composers of the period, including Josquin Desprez, Thomas Tallis, William Byrd, Francisco Guerrero, and Thome Luis de Victoria.

Ave Maria…virgo serena                                        Josquin Desprez (c. 1450–1521)
Tota pulchra es Maria                                              Francisco Guerrero (1527/8–1599)
Diffusa est gratia                                                     William Byrd (1539/40–1623)
Alma redemptoris mater                                         Tomás Luis de Victoria (c. 1548–1611)
Videte miraculum                                                    Thomas Tallis (c. 1505–1585)

Ave virgo sanctissima                                             Guerrero
Ave Maria, gratia plena                                           Robert Parsons (c. 1535–1571/2)
La luz de vuestros ojos                                           Guerrero
Inviolata, integra, et casta es Maria                        Josquin Desprez
Ave Maria, mater Dei                                              William
Cornysh Vidi speciosam                                         Victoria