Released May 2012 (Hyperion CDA67928)
A well-judged selection of sacred music by sixteenth-century English composer Christopher Tye, including his masterpiece the Missa Euge bone.
Quaesumus omnipotens et misericors Deus
Missa Euge Bone
Give almes of thy goods
Peccavimus cum patribus nostris
Western Wynde Mass
James O’Donnell conductor
The Choir of Westminster Abbey
Christopher Tye flourished as a church musician in England during the mid-sixteenth century. A direct contemporary of Thomas Tallis, he held the prestigious post of Master of Choristers at Ely Cathedral and successfully managed to compose music for both Protestant and Catholic services during a politically unstable time. Henry VIII was a fan, asserting: ‘England one god, one truth, one doctor hath for music’s art—and that is Dr Tye’.
The composer was also described as ‘peevish and humoursome’, and these qualities are reflected in his remarkably individual music, characterized by unpredictable cadences and phrases of often unexpectedly startling beauty. The two major works on this recording are his masterful Missa Euge bone for six voices, and his Western Wynde Mass, probably an early work, and likely written as a complement to John Taverner’s own Mass based on this secular English song.
"Westminster Abbey Choir are on brilliant form here, trebles crisp and alert and lay vicars forthright and muscular"
- The Observer
At different times of the day, or in different seasons, the light falling in the Abbey will light up something that you have walked past a million times and never seen before.