Chamber Choir


Tunes of Tudor Tumult

Thursday 28 October 2021, 19:30 - 21:30
St Peter's Eaton Squaremap ]
119 Eaton Square
London SW1W 9AL

Orlando Chamber Choir
Lucy Goddard, director

Orlando Chamber Choir's autumn concert features a breath-taking blend of English choral works from turbulent late-Tudor times. The ascension of Anglican Queen Elizabeth I drove Catholicism underground, compelling the country’s prime composer, Thomas Tallis, to tactfully transcribe some of his music for compliance with protestant practice. He and his pupil William Byrd published stunning high-Anglican settings like Salvator mundi and O nata lux but continued to celebrate their own conviction in covert Catholic compositions. These latter works touched on themes of religious treason – like the warning against Anglican spies whispered in Vigilate and the insistence in Quis est homo that salvation is restricted to the religiously righteous.

Not only credence required careful weighing, words called for caution too. Controversially to some, Queen Elizabeth had Archbishop Parker translate the psalms into English, reverently tuned by Thomas Tallis and (much later) set with rowdy joy by Kerry Andrew. Even seemingly innocent secular poetry could be treacherously contentious. The madrigal collection “The Triumphs of Oriana”, in which the country’s most prominent composers celebrated Queen Elizabeth, is rumoured to have first been dedicated to Anne of Denmark, would-be Catholic Queen of England had the so-called Essex Rebellion succeeded. When we perform John Wilbye’s flattering The Lady Oriana and Thomas Weelkes’ joyful As Vesta was, you may wonder whom they really woo…

The concert’s glorious repertoire conveys a comforting message: in periods of religious unrest and political pandemonium, when language is contested and there's venom in mere verse, music resounds with even more depth and beauty.

Come and enjoy our tunes of Tudor tumult!


William Byrd (c.1540 - 1623)
Thomas Tallis (c.1505 - 1585)
from Tunes for Archbishop Parker's Psalter:
E'en like the hunted hind
When Jesus went into Simon's house
from Tunes for Archbishop Parker's Psalter:
Why fum'th in fight
William Byrd (c.1540 - 1623)
O Lord, make thy servant Elizabeth our Queen
Thomas Tallis (c.1505 - 1585)
Salvator mundi
from Tunes for Archbishop Parker's Psalter:
Expend, O Lord, my plaint
William Byrd (c.1540 - 1623)
Quis est homo
Thomas Tallis (c.1505 - 1585)
In jejunio et fletu
William Byrd (c.1540 - 1623)
Laudibus in sanctis
Thomas Tallis (c.1505 - 1585)
from Tunes for Archbishop Parker's Psalter:
Let God arise in majesty
O nata lux
from Tunes for Archbishop Parker's Psalter:
God grant with grace
Michael East (c.1580 - 1648)
Hence stars too dim of light
John Wilbye (1574 - 1638)
The Lady Oriana
Thomas Weelkes (1576 - 1623)
As Vesta was
Kerry Andrew (1978 - )
Archbishop Parker's Psalme 150