Taverner’s setting of the Matins responsory for All Saints’ Day, Audivi vocem de caelo
, follows the well-established pattern of plainchant alternating with polyphony which incorporates the chant as a cantus firmus. Its unusual scoring for four high voices may be attributable to the liturgical custom associated with All Saints’ Day, whereby the responsory was sung by a group of five boys supposedly representing the five virgins described in the lesson immediately preceding. In fact one of the lower parts is not the work of Taverner, but was added ad placitum by a colleague at Cardinal College, William Whytbroke.
from notes by Sally Dunkley © 2000