The St. Gregory Society Schola : Palestrina and the Tridentine Mass

I was raised in the Catholic Church, educated at Jesuit schools and was an altar boy for several years from the age of eight, or so. I was taught enough of the Latin Mass to be able to assist the priest and recite the proper responses during the mass (we also had four years of Latin … Continue reading The St. Gregory Society Schola : Palestrina and the Tridentine Mass

Holy Week at the Chapel of the Dukes of Braganza : A Capella Portuguesa, Owen Rees

This recording is a celebration of the vast outpouring of masterpieces which survived the destruction by earthquake of the Lisbon libraries solely due to the dedication of the Vila Viçosa copyists. It is a collection of Renaissance polyphony celebrating Easter Week in Renaissance Portugal by some big names, Palestrina, Lobo, and Victoria but also includes … Continue reading Holy Week at the Chapel of the Dukes of Braganza : A Capella Portuguesa, Owen Rees

Taking Liberties : Björn Schmelzer & Machaut’s “Messe de Nostre Dame”

The La Messe de Nostre Dame by Guillaume de Machaut has been called the most important polyphonic composition of the 14th century.  There are at least 35 recordings dating back to 1951, although most of those pre-1980 are hard to find and if found only available on vinyl. There appears to be general agreement now … Continue reading Taking Liberties : Björn Schmelzer & Machaut’s “Messe de Nostre Dame”

Guillaume Du Fay: The Tenor Masses (Les messes à teneur)

What did it mean for Guillaume Du Fay (ca. 1397-1474), chameleon-like expert in every musical genre of his day, to compose four settings of the Mass Ordinary toward the end of his life? Looking back from the vantage point of the next generation, when the polyphonic mass reigned supreme, it might be tempting to interpret … Continue reading Guillaume Du Fay: The Tenor Masses (Les messes à teneur)