John Taverner: Dum transisset sabbatum (II)

by Blue Heron

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This first-ever digital single released by Blue Heron features a work of John Taverner (c.1490-1545). Like the music of Blue Heron’s “Music from the Peterhouse Partbooks” series, this is a gorgeous work from the golden age of pre-Reformation English cathedral music. (Very little music survives from this period.) The text relates to the women arriving to Jesus’ tomb on Sunday morning. In his musical setting, alternating between Gregorian chant and five-voice polyphonic settings, Taverner captures the mystery and awe contained in that biblical story. Research indicates the pitch used at that time in England was likely around A=446, and so this work is sung at that unusual pitch level.

lyrics

Dum transisset sabbatum, Maria Magdalene
et Maria Jacobi et Salome emerunt aromata
ut venientes ungerent Jesum. Alleluya.
Et valde mane una sabbatorum venit ad
monumentum: orto jam sole ut venientes
ungerent Jesum. Alleluya.
Gloria patri et filio et spiritui sancto. Alleluya.
— Third respond for Matins on Easter Day

And when the sabbath was past, Mary
Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and
Salome brought spices, that they might anoint
Jesus. Alleluia.
And very early on the sabbath they came to
the sepulchre, at the rising of the sun, that
they might anoint Jesus. Alleluia.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to
the Holy Ghost. Alleluia.

credits

released April 14, 2015
Recorded October 2012
Church of the Redeemer, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
Engineering & Mastering: Joel Gordon
Producer: Eric Milnes
Editing: Eric Milnes & Joel Gordon

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Blue Heron Boston, Massachusetts

Blue Heron, directed by Scott Metcalfe, 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; the Boston Musical Intelligencer calls Blue Heron “a fantastic model for the fully-realized potential of early music performance in the 21st century.” ... more

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