St Paul’s Anglican Church, Burwood
Our first concert of 2023 was held on Saturday 1 April, in the beautiful
Santa Sabina Chapel
This was a concert of sacred music, predominantly for Easter.
The concert included JC Bach’s Ach, dass ich Wassers gnug hätte, Geist’s Es War aber an der Stätte and Rosenmüller’s O dives omnium bonarum dapum.
We also performed music by Brumel, Caldini, G Gabrieli, Mallory and Vinders, including pieces for 6 and 7 recorders.
We have selected some of the pieces from the concert and our dress rehearsal for your enjoyment.
Beata Viscera by Fulvio Caldini
Beata Viscera (Blessed is the Womb) is haunting, intense and meditative. Caldini composed the piece around a medieval melody by Pérotin ( fl. c.1200). “Starting with one added pedal tone only, I gradually built a canon with more voices. Pérotin composed only the melody, but it seemed to me so beautiful I gave in to temptation and enriched it with a harmony created by a canon.” Beata Viscera celebrates the mystery of the Virgin Mary, and is sung during a Mass celebrating the Virgin Mary.
Ubi Caritas ~ Anon medieval
This Gregorian chant is thought to have been written in France in the 10th century. It is an offertory for Maundy Thursday. Two of the best known settings of the chant are by Maurice Duruflé and Ola Gjeilo.
We use a very simple arrangement in our performance.
Where charity and love are, God is there.
As we are gathered into one body,
Beware, lest we be divided in mind.
Let evil impulses stop, let controversy cease,
And may Christ our God be in our midst.
Where charity and love are, God is there.
And may we with the saints also,
See Thy face in glory, O Christ our God:
The joy that is immense and good,
Unto the ages through infinite ages. Amen
Mort en Merchy by Gilles Binchois c.1400 – 1460
Mort en Merchy (Death and Mercy) is a contrafactum of a secular song where the same melody is used but the secular text is replaced with religious text, in this case by Binchois’ Magnificat Sexti Toni ad omnes versus.
Drop, Drop Slow Tears (Song 46) by Orlando Gibbons 1583 – 1625
Gibbons compiled the Hymnes and Songs of the Church in 1623. It is a very simple publication, consisting of 42 hymns where only the treble and bass lines are provided. Drop, drop slow tears is often sung at Passiontide. The words are by Phineas Fletcher (1582–1650).
Drop, drop, slow tears, And bathe those beauteous feet
Which brought from Heaven The news and Prince of Peace.
Cease not, wet eyes, His mercy to entreat;
To cry for vengeance Sin doth never cease.
In your deep floods Drown all my faults and fears;
Nor let His eye See sin, but through my tears.
Vater Unser by Arvo Pärt
Vater Unser uses most of the text of the Lord’s Prayer and was written in 2005 for a boy soprano or countertenor with piano accompaniment. In 2013, Pärt arranged the piece for countertenor and string quintet, which premiered on 3 October 2013 in Wollongong, Australia, performed by the countertenor Andreas Scholl and the Australian Chamber Orchestra.
The simple, curving melody line and the harmony of the string accompaniment highlight the idea in the text of forgive us our sins … as we forgive …. The text is intoned with childlike simplicity over gently oscillating viols supported by a placid bass line.
A Christmas Lullaby
Guest Artist: Santa Sabina College Chamber Choir
Our final concert of 2022, A Christmas Lullaby was held on Saturday 3 December
The program included music of Agricola, Aichinger, JS Bach, Binchois, Corelli, A Gabrieli, Leontovych, Mouton, and Rutter. We have selected a number of our favourite pieces from the concert for your enjoyment.
A Solis Ortus Cardine (From the Pivot of the Sun’s Rising) – Gilles Binchois c. 1400 – 1460
This is the first line of a poem by Coelius Sedulius (died c.450), recounting Christ’s life from his birth to his resurrection. The first 7 verses of the poem followed by a new closing verse entered the Roman Catholic liturgy as a hymn used for Lauds during the Christmas season.
Christum wir sollen loben schön – Martin Agricola 1486 – 1556
During the Reformation, Martin Luther translated A Solis Ortus Cardine into German and published it in his first collection of hymns (1524) as Christum wir sollen loben schön. Agricola’s 3 part version has the two top parts playing in strict canon. The bottom part then enters with its own melody based on the canon.
Ave Maria – Anon 15th century
This setting of Ave Maria is found in the 15th century Selden Manuscript housed in the Bodleian Library in Oxford. In 15th-century England a tradition grew up for the composition of polyphonic carols. None of them is ascribed to a specific composer or poet, neither is their function completely understood. The form is that of alternating verses and burdens (refrains), the language often being a mixture of Latin and English. In this Marian carol, the melodies are fluid and the harmonies subtle in order to portray the Virgin Mary as tender and graceful. The refrain is in Latin and the verse in English.
O Come O Come Emmanuel (Veni, Veni, Emmanuel) – Anon 15th century
The words and the music of this Advent hymn developed separately. The text is from the “O antiphons”, a series of plainchant antiphons sung at Vespers in the seven days preceding Christmas Eve. The O Emmanuel antiphon was traditionally sung on the night before Christmas Eve. The Latin text appeared for the first time in the seventh edition of Psalteriolum Cantionum Catholicarum (Cologne, 1710). The music for the hymn was found in a 15th-century manuscript in the National Library of France. The melody was first linked with the Veni Emmanuel text in 1851, when Thomas Helmore published it in the Hymnal Noted.
Fugue in C major – J S Bach 1685 – 1750
This fugue is from the first book of The Well-Tempered Clavier (1722) comprising twenty-four preludes and fugues each in all the major and minor keys, and written for keyboard. It has been arranged for recorder consort. The Fugue is a tour-de-force of imitative counterpoint, with multiple close subject entries plus a grand concluding pedal point. Perhaps symbolically, the subject returns twenty-four times; it is based on l’homme armé, a Renaissance melody that was used by many composers at the time.
Gaudete Christus est Natus (Rejoice Christ is Born) – Anon 1585 (arr Alex Palmer)
This is an anonymous composition that was first published in 1582 in a collection of carols and other religious songs called Piae Cantiones (Spiritual Songs), the first Finnish music ever to be printed. It only gives music for the chorus of Gaudete; the verses, which tell of the wonder of God’s arrival on earth in human form, have been taken from a Czech medieval song about the Virgin Mary, Ezechielis Porta. The Latin text is a typical medieval song of praise, which follows the standard pattern for the time – a uniform series of four-line stanzas, each preceded by a two-line refrain.
A Christmas Lullaby – John Rutter (arr Alex Palmer)
John Rutter’s choral music is sung world-wide. Christmas Lullaby was commissioned in 1989 by the Bach Choir for performance at the choir’s hugely popular Christmas concerts in London’s Royal Albert Hall, in celebration of the seventieth birthday of its conductor, Sir David Willcocks. The haunting melody of the verses and the reflective refrain of ‘Ave Maria’ have made this an immensely popular carol.
With Timbrell and Dance
Guest Artists: The Early Dance Consort
In celebration of the sesquicentenary of St Paul’s Anglican Church, Burwood, the second concert for 2022, With Timbrell and Dance was held on Saturday 13 August
The program included music of Praetorius, Arcadelt, Morel, Charpentier
and many more. We have selected a number of our favourite dance videos from the concert for your enjoyment.
The Villanella is a rustic-themed balletto from Fabritio Caroso’s 1581 dance treatise, published in Venice. The choreography (originally for two) plays on the fact that the lady, regardless of her status, was always given the “upper hand” in dancing, meaning the right hand of her partner. This was one of the few female privileges, and a mark of respect – hence the gentleman’s attempts to take her right hand in his left are swiftly rebuffed.
Christchurch Bells in Oxon is a country dance from the sixth edition of Playford’s English Dancing Master (1679), celebrating the great bells of Christ Church at Oxford University. It is set to a three-part round, used both for dancing and in ballad operas well into the 18th century. A similar dance and tune, “Le Carillon d’Oxfort,” appearing in Feuillet’s collection of contredanses published in Paris in 1706, suggests a wider popularity.
Livio Lupi da Caravaggio
The balletto Alta Caretta has royal associations. It is set to the famous Ballo del Gran Duca by Emilio de’ Cavalieri for wedding intermedii of Ferdinando de’ Medici and Christina of Lorraine in Florence in 1589. Our quirky choreography is the creation of Livio Lupi da Caravaggio. It is in two parts: Ballo and its Scioltà, meaning variation in triple time – though not a gagliarda, despite Lupi’s treatise being largely devoted to that courtly dance (Palermo, 1607).
In the Stillness of Time
Our first concert for 2022, In the Stillness of Time was held on Saturday 30 April at St Paul’s Anglican Church, Burwood
The program included music of Ahle, Caldini, Campion, Cavendish, Dowland,
Kogler, Lane, Ravenscroft, Sieg and Tunder.
We have selected a number of our favourite videos from the concert for your enjoyment.
His Golden Locks Time hath to Silver Turned
This lute song is from John Dowland’s First Booke of Songes.
The song is a poetic homage to the elderly Sir Henry Lee. Sir Henry was a fabled champion jouster in the early years of Queen Elizabeth’s reign who pledged himself in 1569 to winning the annual competitions every year on the monarch’s birthday until he became too old. The song is a somewhat melancholic and existential reflection on the aging, once proud warrior conquered by the ravages of time. It is uncertain whether the text is by Sir Henry Lee or Dowland’s contemporary George Peele.
This is the 3rd movement from Sören Sieg’s African Suite no.20, Ixesha.
Ixesha in Xhosa means “time”, and this refers to the African Proverb:
“The Europeans have the clock, the Africans have the time.”
Sieg describes Consolation as a mother holding her child, that has hurt itself, lulling the child, telling it stories to distract it and keep whispering “Everything will be fine”.
Fulvio Caldini is an Italian composer, pianist and musicologist. Since the 1980s, he has created a large body of works which are generally composed according to minimalist principles. This toccata is rhythmically challenging, relentless and exciting to perform.
Brian Kogler’s rounds, written for equal female voices, are delightful; many of the rounds fortunately sit well on our instruments. The text of this 4 part round relates to our present world: “Deliver me, O Lord, from all these days”
In June 2021 we recorded Bathroom Suite by Brian Kogler,
composed for Susan Christie and Consort 8 in 2018.
Un Doux Noël
Our annual Advent/Christmas concert Un Doux Noël was held on Saturday 5 December 2021 at St Paul’s Anglican Church, Burwood.
The program ranged from 15th century carols through to 21st century compositions, featuring gentle lullabies and traditional carols. We have selected a number of our favourite videos from the concert for your enjoyment.
Lulla Lullaby (Part 1)
William Byrd (1540 – 1621)
Anon 15th Century (arr Martin Shaw)
Michael Praetorius (1570 – 1621)
Hettorre della Marra (1570 – 1634)
Quanno nascette Ninno per la nascita di Gesù
Anon 17th Century
Courtly Ayres & Dances
On 19 September 2020, Consort 8 presented Courtly Ayres & Dances at St Paul’s Anglican Church, Burwood. The concert was a visual feast with guest artists, The Early Dance Consort, performing against the beautiful backdrop of St Paul’s. Here are some videos for you to enjoy.
The Dovehouse Pavane (viols)
Alfonso Ferrabosco II (1575 -1628)
Two Almaines ~ The Honie Suckle & The Night Watch (recorders)
Anthony Holborne (1545 -1602)
Pavane Belle qui tiens ma vie
Thoinot Arbeau (1520 -1595)
Cesare Negri (c. 1536 – 1610)
A Spanish Pavane
Michael Praetorius (1571 – 1621)
Fabritio Caroso (1526 -1620)
Anon 16th century
André Campra (1660 -1774)
In January 2020, Consort 8 recorded two of the Three Gregorian Fantasies by Lance Eccles, composed in 2004. In April 2020, it was announced that these recordings won 3rd place in the Orpheus Music International Competition for recordings of performances of Australian music composed for recorders.
The performances were recorded at our home, St Paul’s Anglican Church, Burwood. This church, with its beautiful windows and roof detailing, matches the soaring qualities in the music. Consort 8 would like to thank Father James at St Paul’s for allowing us to use the church for this recording, and his always generous support of our group.
Consort 8 is led by Susan Christie, here playing soprano recorder; Jude Huxtable, alto; Bernard Williams and Robert Small, tenors; Susan Foulcher, bass.
Kyrie Eleison from Three Gregorian Fantasies / Lance Eccles (2004)
Based on Gregorian chant themes, the melodies are freely flowing, with subtle time changes throughout. Gorgeous to play!
Asperges me from Three Gregorian Fantasies / Lance Eccles (2004)
This piece is based on the Gregorian chant sung during the sprinkling of altar, clergy, and people with holy water before High Mass.
Workshop with Sören Sieg
In February 2020, the Sydney Society of Recorder Players organised a workshop with the internationally renowned composer Sören Sieg. This African Suite was recorded at the concert following the workshop. Consort 8 was thrilled to be able to perform in the presence of the composer.
Vitambo vya moyo by Sören Sieg
Kinokero (The Gazelle)
These rehearsal videos were recorded during the Covid-19 era when we were unable to perform concerts for you. We hope the videos bring you some joy.
Anthony Holborne (1545-1602)