Friday, February 9, 2018

Leonel Power's Ave, Regina Caelorum

In my most recent blog post for The National Catholic Register I continued my series on the Marian Antiphons, the prayers sung at the end of Compline (Night Prayer) in The Liturgy of the Hours. The Ave, Regina Caelorum is chanted or prayed from the Feast of the Presentation (February 2) through the Wednesday evening of Holy Week. I always feature an English composer in my examples of settings for these antiphons, and this time I chose Leonel Power:

The fifteenth century English composer Leonel Power’s Ave, Regina Caelorum is one of only 40 of his works that have survived.

The BBC Music website has more examples of Leonel Power's works here.

According to ArchivMusic:

Power lived and worked in a time of great cross-fertilization and change in European music. While the late fourteenth century had been a period in which French music crossed the channel to Britain, in the first few decades of the fifteenth, English music and musicians were influential on the Continent. Many English musicians are known to have been present among the international convention of the Council of Constance, as well as traveling with their English patrons on campaigns such as Harfleur and Agincourt (or in occupied France afterwards). And Leonel Power was one of the most prominent among them. The important manuscript known as "Old Hall" was probably compiled for the chapel of the Duke of Clarence, but was later associated with the royal chapels of both Henry V and Henry VI (Henry V composed a piece of music within it). Power wrote possibly three times as much music as any other known composer in Old Hall, and his theoretical treatise "on the gamme [gamut, or musical scale]" was also well-known.

More about the Old Hall Manuscript at the British Library here.

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