Some of you have inquired as to the content of Catholic Phoenix’s forthcoming sacred music concert, “Singing the Mass,” which will take place at the Chapel of Our Lady at Xavier Prep on November 27 at 7:00 p.m. (Hey: why not buy your tickets now?)
So, for those of you with insatiable curiosity, here’s a little info:
Singing the Mass will feature the Mass for Five Voices by William Byrd (1540–1623; that’s him above, I think). This is Byrd’s most densely textured and ambitious setting of the Mass ordinary, yet it remains compact and expressive, in contrast to some of the more elaborate and abstract compositions of other great composers of the age.
The Mass will be sung by Solis Camerata, under the direction of Kira Zeeman Rugen. Solis Camerata is the early music ensemble of Arizona State University, with a performance repertoire spanning centuries of sacred and secular music, from the 12th century to the high baroque of Johann Sebastian Bach.
The English composer William Byrd is one of the outstanding musical figures of the 16th century, the golden age of Catholic sacred polypohony; he was a contemporary of Tallis, Lasso, and Palestrina. While he composed a significant amount of instrumental music, secular madrigals, and English anthems for Protestant services, Byrd is best known for his enormous corpus of Latin music for Catholic worship, including multiple books of sacred motets for the major liturgical feasts of the year, and three complete settings of the Mass ordinary, for three-, four-, and five-part choirs, respectively.
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