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Hyperion Records

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Orb of the world in Christ’s hand (detail from the Westminster Retable).
Copyright © Dean and Chapter of Westminster
Track(s) taken from CDA67928
Recording details: June 2011
All Hallows, Gospel Oak, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Jeremy Summerly
Engineered by David Hinitt
Release date: May 2012
Total duration: 3 minutes 40 seconds

'For a true celebration of the English high-treble phenomenon one need look no further than this. The amplitude of the basses makes a most wonderful balancing effect with the brightness of the boys and there are great surges of sound that almost lift you out of your seat. Just as you think they've given their all, a super-charged wave of glory takes it all to the next level. Their quiet singing is heavenly, too, and both ends of the dynamic spectrum are sublimely devotional' (Choir & Organ)

'The Gloria of Tye's magnificent Missa Euge bone brings you up short with some startlingly grumpy gestures and intriguing harmonic shifts, but the dark clouds never last long—the closing section of his glorious motet Peccavimus cum patribus nostris, for instance, resolves in an explosion of dazzling polyphony. Westminster Abbey Choir are on brilliant form here, trebles crisp and alert and lay vicars forthright and muscular' (The Observer)

'Immediately one is introduced to Tye's extraordinary sound-world of unusual cadences and rigorous alternation of high and low voices to achieve impressive effects. All of these are carefully allowed to speak for themeselves thanks to the judicious direction of Westminster Abbey's Organist and Master of the Choristers, James O'Donnell' (International Record Review)

Christ rising
composer
editor
reconstruction of lower bass part
author of text
Romans 6: 9-11; 1 Corinthians 15: 20-22 (texts appointed to be sung on Easter Day in Edward VI's second Prayer Book, 1552

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Christ rising is a six-voice setting of the Easter Anthems. The text belongs to the 1552 Book of Common Prayer, where it was ritually substituted for the Venite during Matins on Easter Day. The lowest partbook of the only (early seventeenth-century) source of this piece has been lost and requires reconstruction (here by John Langdon in 1970). The harmonic language is bold and frequently dissonant. The English cadence at the words ‘of the dead’ is one of the more gentle of the piece’s many dissonances. The augmented chord and subsequent simultaneous false relation used to paint the words ‘For seeing that by man came death’ might, on their own, be found expressive and tolerable, but the other fourteen instances of the simultaneous false relation (and three other non-simultaneous ones) make this piece acoustically disturbing (most notably so at the words ‘For as by Adam all men do die’). Each occurrence of the false relation is justifiable in terms of micro word-painting, and the brilliantly conceived contrasting consonant ending does justice to the words ‘restored to life’, but the overall effect is brash in the extreme. Perhaps it was this aspect of Tye’s stylistic dogma that so agitated Elizabeth I: ‘Sometimes playing on the organ in the chapel of Queen Elizabeth, which contained much music, but little delight to the ear, she would send the verger to tell him he played out of tune; whereupon he sent word that her ears were out of tune.’

from notes by Jeremy Summerly © 2012

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