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Durham University

Experience Durham


Experience Durham events are open to all staff, students and members of the local community.

Durham Singers: The Crown of Glory

28th March 2020, 19:30 to 21:00, St Cuthbert's Chapel, Ushaw College

Two jewels in the crown of Renaissance music, honouring a Queen and a Pope, form the centrepiece of the Durham Singers’ spring concert, alongside two settings of the Ave Maria from England and Spain.

Mundy: Vox Patris caelestis
Palestrina: Missa Papae Marcelli
Parsons: Ave Maria
Guerrero: Ave Maria
The Durham Singers, directed by Julian Wright

Tickets £12, students and U25 £10, children 13 and under free. Book online at Tickets are also available from Durham Music Shop, High Street, Langley Moor or from choir members, or email to reserve on the door.

William Mundy’s Vox Patris Caelestis, possibly written in honour of Mary Tudor, is a complex and lavish setting of a text inspired by the Song of Songs. Long interweaving melodic lines caress the most sensuous words and Mundy uses the full expressive pallette of the choir, creating striking effects from different combinations of parts, sometimes just two or three, and sometimes six or seven.

Such gloriously complex music alarmed the reforming Council of Trent, who were so concerned that the text was unintelligible that they threatened to ban polyphony altogether. In writing his Missa Papae Marcelli, Palestrina rose magnificently to this challenge, proving that it was possible to write polyphony with crystal clear text. The Missa Papae Marcelli is one of Palestrina’s best loved pieces, full of gorgeous tunes and graceful interplay between the voices. Pope Marcellus himself only reigned for three weeks, but his name shines on in Palestrina’s luminous music, which was frequently sung at Papal coronations.

Contrasting settings of the Ave Maria by Robert Parsons from England and Francisco Guerrero from Spain complete our musical snapshot of mid-sixteenth century Catholic Europe.

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