The Singers


Selected Programmes

The St Thomas Singers
conductor Donald Halliday

Martin Charlton organ

Kings Hall, University of Newcastle

Saturday 22 February 1997, 7.30 pm

The Glories of the Chapel
presented as part of the first
Newcastle Early Music Festival


Tye O come ye servants of the Lord
Parsons Ave Maria
Organ: Byrd Clarifica me pater
Byrd Ave verum Corpus
Byrd Teach me, O Lord
Byrd Haec Dies
Tallis If ye love me
Organ: Tallis Hymn: Veni Redemptor
Tomkins When David heard
Gibbons Almighty and everlasting God
Gibbons O clap your hands
Gibbons The silver swan
Morley Sing we and chaunt it
Now is the month of maying
and from The Triumphes of Oriana
Morley Hard by a cristall fountaine
Bennet All creatures now
Weelkes As Vesta was from Latmos hill descending

The records of the Chapel Royal can be traced back to 1135. It visited York in 1200 with King John, and in 1418 it was summoned to Bayeux for Henry V's Easter celebrations. By the 16th century Henry VIII had luxuriously endowed the Chapel with a musical staff of some seventy-nine musicians.

During the reign of Elizabeth I (1558 - 1603) the Chapel Royal became the glory of the civilised world. Composers of the calibre of Tye, Tallis, Byrd, Gibbons, Morley and Tomkins were writing music of a quality which was not surpassed anywhere else in Europe. These composers also perfected the English madrigal, and significantly developed the art of keyboard playing.

That impressive tradition died with the fall of the monarchy in 1649 when the Chapel was disbanded. With the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 the Chapel Royal enjoyed a brief resurgence when Charles II employed Henry Purcell to provide music which could rival that of Louis XIV's court in France. However, that revival was brief, and under later monarchs the fortunes of the Chapel started to decline.

This evening's programme celebrates the golden age of the Chapel Royal with performances of religious and secular music by musicians who were (mostly) in the employ of the Chapel Royal during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.