The Sweetest Songs: Music from the Baldwin Partbooks III


This item will be released February 5, 2021.

Contrapunctus concludes its exploration of the music preserved in John Baldwin’s partbooks with a third album dedicated to this remarkable treasure house of English sacred music, the richest single source of Tudor polyphony to survive. This third recording opens a window on a striking aspect of the history of the English motet, and one that has been neglected: the penchant in England for setting Latin psalms as motets, the so-called ‘psalm motet’. These texts offered rich opportunity for vivid musical response, given their nature as personal and impassioned addresses to God, and led to Richard Sampson – Dean of the English Chapel Royal under Henry VIII – describing the psalms as ‘the sweetest songs’. The principal English composers born between the 1510s and the 1530s all contributed to this genre of motet, but to a significant extent this fascinating repertory has lain in obscurity and remains unfamiliar to modern audiences. More than half of the works on this album are premiere recordings, and they include such glorious motets as Robert White’s Domine, non est exaltatum, William Mundy’s Memor esto verbi tui, and John Sheppard’s Confitebor tibi Domine. Contrapunctus’s trademark combination of ground-breaking scholarship and performances that are ‘revelatory and even visionary’ (BBC Music Magazine) here brings to light and to life some of the finest musical survivals of the Tudor age.



Owen Rees Director

Release date: 05/02/21

Catalogue number: SIGCD633

Barcode: 635212063323

1. Domine, non est exaltatum – Robert White
(c. 1535-1574)
2. Tristitia et anxietas – William Byrd
3. In te Domine speravi – John Mundy
(c. 1555-1630)
4. Confitebor tibi Domine anon.
5. Peccavi super numerum – William Byrd
6. Domine quis habitabit – Robert Parsons
(c. 1535-1571/2)

7. Memor esto verbi tui – William Mundy
(c. 1528-c. 1591)
8. Confitebor tibi Domine – John Sheppard
(c. 1515-1558)
9. Ne perdas cum impiis – William Byrd
10. Confitebor tibi Domine – William Daman
(c. 1540-1591)
11. Portio mea – Robert White

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