jubilare!
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Tue 4 October 2005  St Peter's Church, Brighton                     

Jubilare!

The final glorious flowering of English medieval polyphony. Works by Ludford, Cornysh, Taverner and Tallis. (Our part in BREMF.)
Programme;  
Taverner             -Christe Jesu pastor   bone
 Ludford        -Gloria from Missa Benedicta
 Cornysh -Salve Regina
 Ludford -Creed
Interval  
 Browne -Stabat mater
 Ludford -Sanctus
-Benedictus
 Tallis early works:

-Euge Caeli
-Alleluia

 Ludford           -Agnus Dei
 Taverner           -Dum transisset Sabbatum

Why have we called this concert Jubilare!??
"Anglici vulgariter jubilare" wrote the great medieval theorist Joannes Tinctoris in 1476. 
He was comparing English singers with French, whom he said " vero cantare dicuntur".
This was translated by an eminent musicologist as implying that the English shouted 
while the French sang properly, but could this really be true? 

Looking at the music of the time suggests otherwise.  While Continental Franco 
Flemish polyphony of the time could be dense textured and ornamented, it was still 
written basically for a male voice choir in 4 parts. English music, on the other hand, 
was written for a five part choir with boys' voices divided between the very high treble 
and the medium voiced mean.  It led to a generally much wider overall compass - 
up to 23 notes - and allowed for a great deal of textural variety. In fact, this late 15th 
and early 16th century English music stands alone in style from the rest of Europe - 
as did the choirs. It is a highly ornamental web of sound and colour with decorated 
vocal lines exploiting the full range of the voice. The exuberant style of writing would 
invite a forthright delivery from the singers - there is no way you can sing this music 
in half voice!

So maybe Tinctoris's "Jubilare" implies something more triumphant, and as to the 
"vulgariter"....well that is a matter of taste.