Anthems, poetry and songs from the Golden Age of Elizabethan and Jacobean church music.
The Nightingale's own Brother
Saturday 8th October 2022
St Mary le Strand Church, WC2R 1ES
The Elizabethan and Jacobean periods in England, roughly encompassing the years 1559 - 1625, are often described in the modern day as the Golden Age of English church music. This gilded epithet is an effective description; great volumes of beautiful, moving and influential music was being written by some of the greatest English-language composers in Western music history, as they responded enthusiastically and inventively to the rapidly shifting political, religious and social environments they lived through. The foundation of the Church of England and the consolidation of its authority over the course of the 16th century demanded a new music from English composers, despite many of them retaining their Catholicism on a personal level.
Even outside the new church, music and literary arts were flourishing. Collections of secular songs and madrigals were being published and found great popularity, poets and writers found themselves swept into a new movement spearheaded by Philip Sidney and Edmund Spenser, and the upsurge in printing quality combined with a greater public interest in English arts laid the groundwork for an artistic boom.
The Queenes Chappell presents a selection of the best music and poetry from this fruitful period of English artistic history. Verse anthems from Orlando Gibbons, John Bull and Thomas Morley, interspersed with organ music from the seminal Elizabethan keyboard collection, The Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, bookend the programme. The core of the evening is a selection of songs from William Byrd's Psalmes, sonets & songs of sadnes and pietie from 1588, complete with readings of poems by Thomas Campion, Philip Sidney and Edmund Spenser.