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Hyperion Records

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Ditchley portrait of Elizabeth I by Marcus Gheeraerts
Reproduced by kind permission of The National Portrait Gallery, London
Track(s) taken from CDGIM992
Recording details: Unknown
Tewkesbury Abbey, Worcestershire, United Kingdom
Produced by Steve C Smith & Peter Phillips
Engineered by Philip Hobbs & Neil Hutchinson
Release date: October 2006
Total duration: 3 minutes 56 seconds

Ave verum corpus
composer
4vv; Gradualia I (1605)
author of text
Hymn to the Blessed Sacrament, Corpus Christi

Other recordings available for download
The Tallis Scholars, Peter Phillips (conductor)
Westminster Cathedral Choir, Martin Baker (conductor)
Westminster Cathedral Choir, James O'Donnell (conductor)
Winchester Cathedral Choir, David Hill (conductor)
Laudibus, Michael Brewer (conductor)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Gradualia includes the four-voice motet Ave verum corpus, which sets words specified in the Catholic liturgy for use on the feast of Corpus Christi. Today no composition by Byrd is performed and recorded more often than this one, partly because it is such a gem, partly because it offers such rich opportunities for expressive singing, and partly because it is technically not hard for choirs to sing. Nonetheless this motet, like Byrd’s Masses, attained its popularity only in the modern era; being strictly a Catholic work, it was totally shunned by English church musicians until its revival by Catholic choirs late in the nineteenth century. In an age of greater religious tolerance its popularity quickly spread, and by a pleasing twist of fortune Byrd’s Ave verum corpus is now a staple not only of Catholic choral worship, but of Anglican too. Ave verum corpus at Evensong: again, Byrd would have been amazed.

from notes by John Milsom © 2014


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