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Sub Arturo plebs / Fons citharizancium / In omnem terram

author of text
tenor: Psalm 19: 5

Margaret Bent is currently elaborating a persuasive reassessment of the genesis of Sub Arturo plebs, the famous ‘musicians’ motet’ that frames a roll-call of English singers prominent at the time of its composition. According to this new perspective on its origins, the motet is not, as used to be thought, a fourteenth-century work but is in fact roughly contemporary with other structurally elaborate music of Henry V’s chapel as it was being composed in and around the 1410s (our thanks to Dr Bent for her ideas and her edition of this work, and to David Howlett for his translation of its texts). In this interpretation ‘Arthur/ Arcturus’ (the North Star) would be identified again directly with Henry V, certainly a worthy subject for the text’s claim that ‘the military flourishes with the clergy’. An exceptional piece, even by the high standards of English music circa 1400 and later, this virtuoso composition is one of the more complex and tautly controlled ‘isorhythmic’ motets of the period. It is a brilliant and exuberant tour de force of textual and musical invention that drives through to an exhilarating conclusion.

from notes by Andrew Kirkman & Philip Weller © 2017


Beneath the northern star
Studio Master: CDA68132Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Music for the 100 Years' War
Studio Master: CDA68170Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available


Track 6 on CDA68132 [4'49]
Track 2 on CDA68170 [4'03]

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