Music for Impressing a King: Taverner’s Missa Corona Spinea, Wolsey, and Henry VIII

In March 1527 Henry VIII and his wife Catherine of Aragon visited Cardinal Wolsey’s new foundation – Cardinal’s College – in Oxford.  John Taverner, one of the most famous composers of his time, was commissioned to write an appropriately stunning piece of choral music that would wow the King and…

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Everything New is Old Again: The ORA Choir launch

In about a week and a half I’m going back to London to attend (and write about) the launch of the ORA Singers, a new choir that is based on commissioning contemporary composers write reimagined reflections of Tudor masterworks.  Full disclosure – I know Suzi Digby, the founder.  About 5 years…

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Stile Antico rescued my Music Drought

About 7 years ago I went through a Music Drought.  Have you ever been in one of those?  Months, or even years go by, and you realize that you haven’t listened to anything new, or even anything that you love and makes your spine tingle in ages?  Yeah, well, that…

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Staying relevant in pop culture after 500 years: Tallis and Spem in Alium

A few months ago I went to pull up a recording of Thomas Tallis’ Spem in Alium, his famous 40 part motet written for 8 5-part choirs.  I hadn’t listened to it in a while, and it was the kind of day that called for some later Tallis.  The recording that came…

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launching the bigworld tour company, and why I love early choral music

This year I am embarking on a new project as an entrepreneur who leads cultural tours to England, specializing in trips to listen to great choral services in cathedrals.  My dear friend Jim and I are building a tour company, our first trip is scheduled for May 2016, and I’ve been working on…

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Random Friday Fun Facts: Dr. David Skinner and the music of the 16th century

About a month ago I was in the UK for a girls’ weekend (by myself), and as I’ve been trying to do more with my Renaissance English History Podcast lately (like my Tudor Minutes on youtube), I decided to find an interesting person to interview for the show.  At the…

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Old Music Monday: Mary Tudor and Choral Music

I just finished another episode of my Renaissance English History Podcast (the most uncreatively named podcast ever!) (get it on itunes!) on Mary Tudor, and it got me thinking about church music during the five years that Mary reigned.  She wasn’t famous for endowing any colleges, or really supporting scholars,…

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Old Music Tuesday: Alamire

I spent the weekend working with the Golden Bridge Choir in Los Angeles; a new choir formed by Suzi Digby (Lady Eatwell, and a choral goddess in the UK) to explore the musical links between the Golden Age of the Tudor/Elizabethan composers and the current choral Renaissance that Southern California…

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