Farrant became a wealthy man through this venture and the boys were much in demand at the court of Elizabeth I. He was one of the Gentlemen of the Chapel Royal in the 1550s and sang there during the reign of Mary Tudor, taking up the post of Master of the Choristers at St George’s Chapel in 1564. In 1569 he became Master of the Choristers of the Chapel Royal. Each winter from 1567 he presented them to the Queen and produced a play.
Farrant exercised an important influence on church music. His association with the stage (using his choristers) must have led him to compose anthems in a new idiom—now known as the ‘verse’ style. He may well have been the first to introduce soloists to sing the verses. Few of his compositions survive, and the anthem Call to remembrance—although written in quite the opposite of the verse style—shows considerable sensitivity in the setting of the words. This, too, betrays his association with the stage. Consider, for example, the restrained trumpet calls of the opening of this anthem, and the changes of style at ‘thy tender mercies’, ‘which hath been ever of old’, ‘O remember not the sins’ and ‘but according to thy mercy’. These all reveal the hand of a skilful composer and musician.
from notes by William McVicker © 1997
|Passiontide at St Paul's|
This sequence of music for Lent, Passiontide and Easter represents a journey through perhaps the most dramatic part of the Church's year. Favourites include Mendelssohn's I waited for the Lord and Bruckner's Christus factus est. A celebration both ...» More