We didn't know it at the time but this was the last concert in St Mary & St Giles church before lockdown. It took place on Saturday 14 March 2020. I remember sitting on the organ bench in the gallery to take some of the photos for this concert and feeling very concerned about the pandemic and the impact it might have on our lives and musical activities.
Quorum was founded in the autumn of 1984 and specialises in a Capella singing sacred renaissance music in local churches as well as in several Cathedrals. To celebrate its 35th anniversary, the choir gave a splendid concert of English and European Renaissance music, with English music in the first half of the concert, mainly Tallis, Byrd and Purcell while the second half featured music by Palestrina finishing with a contemporary take in Renaissance music by Ola Gjeilo.
Sante Deus - Tallis (c1505-1583)
This piece was written in the days when England was a Roman Catholic country, before the religious turmoil when began in the 1540s.
Tristitia et anxietas - William Byrd (c1540-1623) Miserere mei - William Byrd Both pieces were written during the time when Queen Elizabeth I reintroduced the Protestant version of Christianity to England, with Tristitia et anxietas illustrating both anguish of the soul as well as hope and consolation.
Tunes and voluntarily from early English Baroque - David Bray (Trumpet) and John Wearmouth (Organ) David demonstrated his natural trumpet and the valve trumpet before they played Purcell’s sonata for trumpet and organ, followed by John playing some John Stanley on the organ.
The first half of the concert finished with two pieces by Purcell, written at the end of the 1660s, after the Monarchy was restored.
Hear my prayer - Henry Purcell (1659-1695)
Lord, how long wilt thou be angry - Henry Purcell (1659-1695)
Music from Europe started with a short piece of plainsong chant.
Ave Regina coelorum - Chant
This was followed by a less well known mass written in 1599 and based on the Marian Antiphons by the prolific composer Palestrina:
Missa Ave Regina coelorum (Kyrie, Gloria, Credo) - Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1525-1594)
The unaccompanied mass had an instrumental interlude in the form of trumpet and organ music.
Sonata in Bb (Adagio, Gavotte, Gigue) - Jean Baptist Loeillet (1688-1720) (Trumpet and Organ)
Missa Ave Regina coelorum (Sanctus & Benedictus, Agnus Dei I & II) - Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina
They finished the concert with a recent piece, the breathtaking Ubi caritas - Ola Gjeilo (b1978).
Happy anniversary Quorum!
Words and photos by Anna Page