After last week’s long missive, I’ll try and make this week’s a bit shorter.
As predicted this week has been a lot warmer. I’ve got a few bedding plants out so we’re looking forward to a bit more colour in the garden.
Only one person has sent a positive reply to the virtual video so I’ll tell Michael to loo elsewhere. thanks to those who responded.
This week we are looking at O Lord in thy wrath – Oxford Tudor Anthems p. 231.
Orlando Gibbons was one of the last English polyphonists, succeeding people like Byrd, Tallis, Weelkes and Tye. His church music was written for the recently formed Church of England and is exclusively in English. O Lord, in thy wrath is regarded as one of the gems of the period.
The text is the first four verses of Psalm 6 and often performed during Lent.
O Lord, in thy wrath rebuke me not: neither chasten me in thy displeasure. Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am weak: O Lord, heal me, for my bones are vexed. My soul is also sore troubled: but, Lord, how long wilt thou punish me? O save me, for thy mercy’s sake.
Here is a recording to listen to in the same key as our version, so you can sing along to it.
Search for recordings and you will find them in various keys. There is a good reason for that. The original manuscript is down a minor 3rd – the first note is a D. It is known that the church choirs in the early 17th century consisted of young boys and men. Boys with unchanged voices would not be able to sing that low in our modern pitch. There is oodles of research on early pitch but no-one knows for certain exactly what the pitch was in any region of Europe. it varied from country to country, and even from city to city. It gradually became unified that the A above middle C was 440 vibrations per second, but even today certain German orchestras tune to 445 and some American to 436. It is generally accepted that Tudor pitch was approximately three semi-tones lower but contemporary professional choirs choose whichever pitch suits them best.
For those of you who wish to learn notes here are audio files as per previous weeks:
Have a good week.