When King Henry VIII ascended the throne in 1509, England was Catholic, and on holydays the entire population attended mass, for which elaborate music was written. By the death of Queen Elizabeth I in 1603, Catholicism was outlawed and attending mass was illegal.
We examine how music for one such holyday, the Assumption of the Virgin, changed in these 100 years: from Fayrfax's sumptuous compositions for Henry VII's Chapel Royal accompanied by prolix Sarum chant, to Byrd's hushed intense settings meant to be sung at secret masses in hidden chambers while Elizabeth I's priest-hunters outside tracked down priests for execution.
Admission, as always, is free, with a retiring collection for the upkeep of the host venue. Full texts and translations of the pieces sung will be provided. A brief pre-concert talk will precede the performance, to give listeners some historical background to the music.
On 19th August, Cappella Martialis will be joined by the Creatus Chamber Choir from the Church of Ss Peter & Paul, which will present some Marian motets. Both choirs will join forces for the final piece.
Please register on Eventbrite so we have a better idea of audience numbers, to facilitate ushering and programme printing arrangements.
Nota Bene: our presentation on 19th August will be followed by a brief service of sung Compline. Compline or Night Prayer, the last service of the day in the Roman Catholic tradition, consists of a hymn, a psalm, and a canticle, lasting some 15-20 minutes in total. The audience is warmly invited - a chance to hear chant in its original context!
We are doing a first night at the Church of St Mary of the Angels: https://www.facebook.com/events/236813906966925/