Released October 2008 (Hyperion CDA67704)
Recorded to mark the 450th anniversary of Mary I’s death and Elizabeth I’s accession, this disc features some of the most magnificent music to emanate from an era of extraordinary religious and political turmoil.
Tye Omnes gentes, plaudit minibus
Mundy Vox Patris caelestis
Tallis Videte miraculum
Sheppard Libera nos, salva nos I
Sheppard Second Service
Byrd Teach me, O Lord
Byrd Ne irascaris, Domine
Byrd O Lord, make thy servant Elizabeth
White Exaudiat te Dominus
James O’Donnell conductor
The Choir of Westminster Abbey
This ambitious recording from The Choir of Westminster Abbey explores the immense variety of sacred music composed and performed during the reigns of Mary I and Elizabeth I. Some of England’s greatest musical figures – Byrd, Tallis, Sheppard, Mundy - were active during this time of religious and social turbulence, composing music for both the Roman rite (during its restoration under Mary) and the reformed Church of England under her successor. Many were closely associated with Westminster Abbey. This disc, recorded to mark the 450th anniversary of Mary’s death and Elizabeth’s accession, features several masterpieces of sacred music from the period.
November 1558 is the chronological centrepoint of the disc. The first half of the programme consists of music performed (not necessarily in all cases composed) during Mary’s reign; the second half, beginning with the evening canticles from Sheppard’s Second Service, presents a selection of sacred music produced during the subsequent, much longer and more celebrated reign of Mary’s Protestant half-sister.
Sunday Times CD of The Week
Gramophone Critics' Choice
"Sheppard's sublime Libera nos unfolds like a hothouse flower amid other blooms from Tye, Tallis, Mundy and White."
- The Observer
"In this brilliantly conceived programme … O'Donnell's superlative choir are peerless."
- The Sunday Times
It’s very hard not to be enthusiastic working at the Abbey. If this place doesn’t make you smile I don’t know what will.