We've updated our Terms of Use. You can review the changes here.

Hugh Aston: Three Marian Antiphons (Music from the Peterhouse Partbooks, vol. 1)

by Blue Heron

Ave Maria, dive matris Anne filia unica. Ave Maria, que peperisti puerum virili sine semine. Ave Maria, Jesum tuum filium lactasti sacro ubere. Ave Maria, ipsum alluisti tua super genua. Ave Maria, tres vidisti magos offerentes munera. Ave Maria, Egyptum fugiens petisti angeli per monita. Ave Maria, quesisti tuam sobolem magna cum mestitia. Ave Maria, in templo reperisti docentem evangelia. Conserva tuos famulos hec per tua merita, et perduc eos ad celos cum celesti gloria, psallentes et omnes hoc Ave Maria. Amen. Hail, Mary, only daughter of the blessed mother Anne. Hail, Mary, who brought forth a child without the seed of man. Hail, Mary: you nourished Jesus your son at your sacred breast. Hail, Mary: you washed him in your lap. Hail, Mary: you saw three wise men bringing gifts. Hail, Mary: fleeing, you set out for Egypt, through the angel’s warning. Hail, Mary: you sought your child with great sorrow. Hail, Mary: you found him in the temple teaching the Gospels. Preserve your servants through these your merits, and lead them to the heavens with celestial glory, all singing this “Hail, Mary.” Amen. Translation by Nick Sandon
Magnificat 13:38


Blue Heron’s second CD presents superb music by three English composers of the early 16th century: Hugh Aston, Robert Jones, and John Mason. Although their music is gorgeous and of superlative quality, Aston, Jones, and Mason are virtually unknown to performers and scholars today, for the primary extant source of the music—in the case of Robert Jones’s, the sole extant source—is now incomplete through the loss of one partbook and a portion of another, out of an original set of five. The set, known as the Peterhouse partbooks for its present location in the library of Peterhouse College, Cambridge, was copied in 1540 for Canterbury Cathedral and is the largest and most important source of English music surviving from the period just before the Reformation; it contains over seventy works, fifty of which are unique to Peterhouse. Blue Heron’s recording uses brilliantly idiomatic reconstructions by Nick Sandon, a British musicologist now living in France, who has devoted his career to the music of the Peterhouse partbooks.

This is the first disc in a projected series of recordings of music from the Peterhouse partbooks and includes world premiere recordings of three works and the first of another in the form recorded here.


"My sense of Aston’s voice owes much to Blue Heron’s imaginative realization of his scores. Through an array of interpretive choices—fine gradations of dynamics; pungent diction; telling contrasts of ethereal and earthly timbres; tempos that are more lusty than languid; a way of propelling a phrase toward a goal—the music takes on narrative momentum, its moods dovetailing with the theme of the text. Listen to the brazen, almost raucous tone of the sopranos as they arrive, in 'Ave Maria dive matris Anne,' at the self-reflexive phrase 'psallentes et omnes hoc Ave Maria'—'and all singing this Hail Mary.' Or to the joyous thrust of the basses in the Amen coda of Aston’s “Gaude virgo mater Christi,” as they repeat a phrase in which one interval keeps widening, from a third to a fourth and, finally, to a fifth…"
-- Alex Ross, The New Yorker, January 10, 2011


released March 13, 2010

Engineering and mastering: Joel Gordon
Producer: Eric Milnes
Editing: Eric Milnes, Joel Gordon & David Corcoran
Graphic design: Pete Goldlust
Cover photo: Radius Images
Recorded at Church of the Redeemer, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
September 2009


all rights reserved



Blue Heron Boston, Massachusetts

Winner of the 2018 Gramophone Classical Music Award for Early Music (the first non-European group to win the award), Blue Heron (Scott Metcalfe, dir.) has been acclaimed by The Boston Globe as “one of the Boston music community’s indispensables” and hailed by Alex Ross in The New Yorker for the “expressive intensity” of its interpretations. ... more

contact / help

Contact Blue Heron

Streaming and
Download help

Shipping and returns

Redeem code

Report this album or account

If you like Blue Heron, you may also like: