Back

Henry VIII’s last wife is heading for debut

April 10, 2017 by norman lebrecht

7 comments.


Music from Thomas Tallis’s motet Gaude gloriosa was found buried in the walls of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, in 1978. Recently, the conductor David Skinner has identified the text as being by Henry VIII’s sixth and last queen Catherine Parr.

 

 

The words are from Parr’s psalm paraphrase ‘Against Enemies’ in her first publication Psalms or Prayers, published in London in 1544, and were set as a contrafact of Tallis’s Gaude gloriosa Dei mater.

The work will be performed at St John’s Smith Square London on Good Friday (14 April 2017).

 

David Skinner says: ‘These discoveries are not only significant for cultural historians, but also fundamentally challenge our perceptions of Tallis’s music and chronology which have hitherto been fixed in their essentials for nearly half a century. We also have new insight into the role of a Tudor queen in Henry’s court politics. The musical Reformation seems to have come to England somewhat earlier than anticipated. Many fascinating avenues for further research, both musicological and historical, have opened up for the years to come.’

 


Comments (7)

  1. Walt says:

    I like this Catherine- somehow threading the needle with her devout Protestant beliefs while Catholics all around her wanted her head.

    Old Henry-playing both sides against the middle in his old age.

    Will review the text- thanks for the heads-up!

  2. David says:

    Hi Walt – to save you time, here’s Parr’s text. War-like sentiments very much at odds with the Marian devotional antiphon ‘Gaude gloriosa’, composed, it now seems, around 1541 when Tallis was at Christ Church, Canterbury. All was directed towards Henry’s very personal campaign against the French in the summer of 1544. Published article in the OUP journal Early Music (May, 2016).

    The Ninth Psalm ‘against enemies’

    Se lord and behold, how many they be, which trouble me, how manie, which make
    rebellion against me. They saie among themselues of my soul: there is no helpe of god for it to trust upon. O lorde god, in the I haue put my hope and trust: saue me from them,
    which doe persecute me, and deliuer me. Lest peraduenture at one time or an other take
    my life from me and there be none to deliuer me from them. Forget not thie pore servant suffer not them which be oppressed to looke for helpe always in vayne. Put them to flighte disapoynte them of ther purpose cast them down hedlonge as there wickednesse haue deseruid for they are treatours & raybels agaynst me.

    Let thie poore be browght to nowght & ther wickydnese lighte uppon there owne hede.
    Let the wicked sinners retorne in to hell and let them fall and be taken in the pit wiche
    they have diggide. I will trust in the Lorde witch savest them that in the put there
    confydens. They say thow forgetteste thie seruantes and that thow hidest thie face
    because thow wil not see there trubles. Ther prid is to us much greffe and vexation and
    the glory & triumpe in owre trouble and adversity. How long o Lord wilt thow stand
    afarr of and hid thie self in the time of tribulation. How longe shall the wickyde dispisse
    the and say in ther hartes that thow regardest nothyng.

    Rise up (O lorde) stretche out thy hande: forgette not theim, whiche be oppressed.
    Bryng downe the power of the wicked: that they maie perishe togither with their
    wickednesse. Let thy zeale sodenly come upon them: the firy thunderboltes and the
    spirite of the wherle wynde be porcion of their parte. Prevent me in the daie of my
    tribulacion: and deliver me out of my distresses.
    Have mercie uppon me, for I am troubled on euery syde: and my strength is decayed
    through mine iniquitie. Mine ennemies speake of me muche shame and rebuke: and they
    are holey bent to take my life from me.
    Mine ennemies speake of me muche shame and rebuke: and they are holey bent to take
    my life from me. The peynes of death compasse me rounde about: and the fludes of my
    sines trouble me sore.

    The ropes of hel be tied round about me: and I am wrapped in the snares of death: and
    which waie so ever I go, I fynde stumblynge blockes, to ouerthrowe me.
    Stande up (O lorde) and punishe this naughtie people, and delyuer me from my
    deceitfull enemies. Here me in the daie of my trybulacion: Let thy mightie name defend
    me. For thou arte my sauiour and my glorie.

    So be it.

    1. Walt says:

      Thanks-enjoyed it!

  3. David says:

    Here’s Parr’s text (Psalms or Prayers, 1544). See D. Skinner in the OUP journal Early Music (May, 2017).

    See Lord, and behold (Katherine Parr, Psalms or Prayers, London 1544)
    Se lord and behold, how many they be, which trouble me, how manie, which make
    rebellion against me. They saie among themselues of my soul: there is no helpe of god for it to trust upon. O lorde god, in the I haue put my hope and trust: saue me from them,
    which doe persecute me, and deliuer me. Lest peraduenture at one time or an other take
    my life from me and there be none to deliuer me from them. Forget not thie pore servant suffer not them which be oppressed to looke for helpe always in vayne. Put them to flighte disapoynte them of ther purpose cast them down hedlonge as there wickednesse haue deseruid for they are treatours & raybels agaynst me.

    Let thie poore be browght to nowght & ther wickydnese lighte uppon there owne hede.
    Let the wicked sinners retorne in to hell and let them fall and be taken in the pit wiche
    they have diggide. I will trust in the Lorde witch savest them that in the put there
    confydens. They say thow forgetteste thie seruantes and that thow hidest thie face
    because thow wil not see there trubles. Ther prid is to us much greffe and vexation and
    the glory & triumpe in owre trouble and adversity. How long o Lord wilt thow stand
    afarr of and hid thie self in the time of tribulation. How longe shall the wickyde dispisse
    the and say in ther hartes that thow regardest nothyng.

    Rise up (O lorde) stretche out thy hande: forgette not theim, whiche be oppressed.
    Bryng downe the power of the wicked: that they maie perishe togither with their
    wickednesse. Let thy zeale sodenly come upon them: the firy thunderboltes and the
    spirite of the wherle wynde be porcion of their parte. Prevent me in the daie of my
    tribulacion: and deliver me out of my distresses.

    Have mercie uppon me, for I am troubled on euery syde: and my strength is decayed
    through mine iniquitie. Mine ennemies speake of me muche shame and rebuke: and they
    are holey bent to take my life from me.

    Mine ennemies speake of me muche shame and rebuke: and they are holey bent to take
    my life from me. The peynes of death compasse me rounde about: and the fludes of my
    sines trouble me sore.

    The ropes of hel be tied round about me: and I am wrapped in the snares of death: and
    which waie so ever I go, I fynde stumblynge blockes, to ouerthrowe me.

    Stande up (O lorde) and punishe this naughtie people, and delyuer me from my
    deceitfull enemies. Here me in the daie of my trybulacion: Let thy mightie name defend
    me. For thou arte my sauiour and my glorie.

    So be it.

  4. Neil van der Linden says:

    It it is this same piece, the performance will not be a premiere. Maybe it will be the first one after the attribution was verified. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZI9oUSHdZI

    1. MWnyc says:

      Has it been publicly performed with Catherine Parr’s text before?

      1. David says:

        No. Tomorrow night will be the first performance in over 470 years! https://www.sjss.org.uk/events/alamire


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *