The Crown of Glory

Saturday 28 March 2020, 7.30pm St Cuthbert’s Chapel, Ushaw College

We are sorry to announce that we have have had to cancel this concert. All tickets will be refunded, as follows:

Online bookings at TicketSource
Your ticket and booking fee will be automatically refunded by Ticketsource. They have informed us that, unsurprisingly, they have a large number of cancellations to process, so please be patient if the refund takes a little longer than expected.

Tickets bought through choir members
Your payment will be refunded to the choir member who bought the tickets for you – please contact them to collect your refund.

Tickets booked at Durham Music Shop
Please contact Durham Music Shop on 0191 378 9144 or in person (they’re still open). You’ll need to have your ticket number with you so that they can check that it was bought through them.

Tickets booked direct
We are trying to contact those who booked with us directly. If you haven’t heard from us, please call us on 0779 0148062 to arrange your refund.

William Mundy: Vox Patris caelestis

Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina: Missa Papae Marcelli
Kyrie. Gloria, Credo. Sanctus. Benedictus, Agnus Dei I & II

Robert Parsons: Ave Maria

Francisco Guerrero: Ave virgo sanctissima

The Durham Singers
Musical Director: Julian Wright

On the eve of her coronation, Queen Mary I took part in a magnificent procession through the streets of London. There are accounts of pageants and poetry, and the music performed may well have included William Mundy’s stupendous antiphon Vox Patris caelestis in which the voice of God calls the Virgin Mary to her throne in heaven with sensual verses from the Song of Songs. Whatever the occasion, the music shows Mundy reveling in his new freedom to write elaborate Latin polyphony after the musical austerity imposed by Edward VI’s Protestant regime, weaving together elaborate melodic lines, in different combinations of voices, building up to a passionate six-part finale. Whether or not the music was actually written for Mary’s coronation procession, Vox Patris caelestis certainly feels like a celebration for a new queen.

At almost exactly the same time as William Mundy was writing Vox Patris caelestis, the Papal Council of Trent was discussing exactly whether this sort of complex polyphony had a place in the new world of the counter-reformation. Palestrina gave them the answer, with what has become one of the most celebrated pieces of late renaissance church music, his Missa Papae Marcelli. It’s another work with unclear origins, but in it, Palestrina superbly demonstrates that it is possible to have both glorious polyphony and clarity of text, and the story goes that Palestrina ‘saved polyphony’. Pope Marcellus himself only reigned for three weeks, but his name lives on in Palestrina’s sublime music, which was frequently sung at Papal coronations.