Saturday, March 23, 2013

Music For Holy Week

Stile Antico has another new CD, which I'll be listening to starting tomorrow, called Passion & Resurrection:

Stile Antico's seventh recording focuses on the dramatic events of Holy Week, retracing in music the journey from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday. Twelve different composers are represented in an enthralling programme encompassing the English, Flemish and Spanish Renaissance. At the heart of the disc are twin settings of the mediaeval carol Woefully Arrayed: one by William Cornysh (1465-1523), and one commissioned in 2009 especially for Stile Antico by British composer John McCabe (b. 1939) and recorded here for the first time.

The CD contains performances of:
  1. Cornysh: Woefully Arrayed
  2. Gibbons: Hosanna to the Son of David
  3. Tallis: O sacrum convivium
  4. Lassus: In monte Oliveti
  5. Morales: O crux, ave
  6. Victoria: O vos omnes
  7. John McCabe: Woefully Arrayed
  8. Taverner: Dum transisset
  9. Guerrero: Maria Magdalene
  10. Byrd: In resurrectione tua
  11. Lheritier: Surrexit pastor bonus
  12. Gibbons: I am the Resurrection
  13. Crecquillon: Congratulamini mihi
The CD folder and booklet are beautifully illustrated, with pictures of the Risen Christ, Christ the Man of Sorrows, and border details from fifteenth century English Books of Hours.

First Things featured William Cornysh's "Woefully Arrayed" yesterday:

Woefully arrayed
My blood, man for thee ran, it may not be nayed;
My body, blo and wan;
Woefully arrayed.

Behold me, I pray thee
with all thy whole reason
and be not hard-hearted,
and for this encheason,
sith I for thy soul sake
was slain in good season,
Beguiled and betrayed
by Judas’ false treason,
unkindly entreated,
with sharp cord sore freted,
the Jews me threated,
they mowed, they grinned,
they scorned me,
condem’d to death as thou may’st see;
Woefully arrayed.

Thus naked am I nailed.
O man, for thy sake;
I love thee, then love me,
why sleepst thou, awake,
remember my tender heartroot for thee brake;
with pains my veins constrained to crake;
thus tugged to and fro,
thus wrapped all in woe,
whereas never man was so entreated,
thus in most cruel wise
was like a lamb offer’d in sacrifice;
Woefully arrayed.

Of sharp thom I have worn
a crown on my head.
So pained, so strained, so rueful, so red,
thus bobbed, thus robbed,
thus for thy love dead;
unfeigned, not deigned,
my blood for to shed,
my feet and handes sore
the sturdy nailes bore;
what might I suffer more,
than I have done, O man, for thee?
Come when thou list, welcome to me!
Woefully arrayed.

John McCabe comments on his version of "Woefully Arrayed" here:

Woefully arrayed is a supreme choral setting by William Cornysh, Junior, who died in 1523, of a text usually regarded as of anonymous composition, though there have been some attributions to John Skelton. It is a thoughtful, powerful meditation on Christ on the Cross, and though Cornysh's setting has remarkable intensity and contrapuntal artistry, I felt a strong wish to add my own response to this fine text. The different versions of it have different verses - that used by Cornysh has three verses (plus the refrain), while there are others with four or even five (one attributted to Skelton has five). I have chosen to restrict myself to the three used by Cornysh, using my own adaptation of the modernised words which yet incorporates some archaisms - a deliberate choice for reasons of rhythm and verbal sound.

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