Musical Notes for May 24, 2020

By Dr. Steven Seigart
Director of Music/Organist

This Sunday, the choir returns to a familiar anthem by English Renaissance composer Thomas Tallis, who was one of the chief royal court composers of the English Reformation (and thus had to change the style and language based on who was on the throne). Tallis’ setting of our Gospel text is simple and immediate, straightforward and beautiful. One can only imagine being a congregant in this tumultuous time, one week hearing florid (and possibly unintelligible) Latin motets and the next hearing something like “If Ye Love Me” in one’s own language. What an effect it must have had!

We’ll also have a piece by the other representative composer of this period and place: William Byrd. This keyboard setting of “All in a garden green” (spelled “grine” in the original) is a progressive set of variations on a popular English Country Ballad, which was so popular it was adapted into Dutch and German and even into a psalm-tune for singing metrical paraphrases of Psalm 47. But the original ballad text is a fitting tribute to the current season!


All in a garden green
—William Byrd (1540–1623)
Played on the Erben organ


If Ye Love Me
—Thomas Tallis (1505–1585)
Performed by the Meeting House Virtual Choir
Text from John 14:15–17


Improvisation on SLANE
—Steven Seigart (b. 1990)