Academic journal article Notes

Taverner & Tudor Music I: The Western Wind

Academic journal article Notes

Taverner & Tudor Music I: The Western Wind

Article excerpt

Taverner & Tudor Music I: The Western Wind. Ars Nova Copenhagen / Paul Hillier. Dacapo 8.226050, 2006.

Around 1510 or 1520, when John Taverner wrote his now-famous parody mass on the popular song "The Westron Wynde," the practice of using a popular melody as the cantus firmus for a Mass settting had yet to gain a real foothold in England, although it was already widespread in continental Europe. This Mass remains one of Taverner's most popular works and a widely acknowledged masterpiece of Tudor choral music, and a new recording of it, however lovely, would hardly be a noteworthy event under normal circumstances. However, Paul Hillier (in his relatively recent role as chief conductor of the excellent vocal ensemble Ars Nova Copenhagen) has here put together a program centered around the Western Wind Mass that is both aurally ravishing and historically fascinating, and that should find a place in any library with a collecting interest in Renaissance music. To put the piece in historical and stylistic context, Hillier has chosen to intersperse the sections of the Mass with sacred songs of the same period composed by Taverner's contemporaries William Cornysh, John Browne, Christopher Tye, and an obscure composer known only as Sheryngham, along with one anonymous piece. …

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