Virgin and Child

Signum: SIGCD474

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Virgin and Child



Catalogue No:




Release date:

3rd Feb 2017




75 minutes


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Virgin and Child

Music from the Baldwin Partbooks II


Ave Dei patris filia

Sheppard, J:

Verbum caro factum est


Gaude gloriosa Dei mater

Magnificat for 5 voices

Videte miraculum


Mater Christi Sanctissima

White, Robert:

Tota pulchra es

Regina caeli

Contrapunctus, Owen Rees


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Early music consort Contrapunctus return to disc on Signum for the second release in their series centred on music of the Baldwin Partbooks (In the Midst of Life, SIGCD408). John Baldwin was a member of the choir of St George’s chapel, Windsor, and his transcriptions during the 1570s and 80s create one of the greatest surviving collections of Marian polyphony, composed during the reigns of Henry VIII and Mary Tudor. This volume explores texts celebrating Mary as mother of God, and on the Virgin and her Child.

Contrapunctus, led by Owen Rees, couple powerful interpretations with pioneering scholarship. Currently Vocal Consort in Residence at Oxford University, the ensemble’s first two recordings, Libera nos and In the Midst of Life, were both shortlisted for the Gramophone Early Music Award.

A contemporary of Mundy, Robert White (c1538-1574) was a promising young musician whose life was cut short by a plague epidemic in London. His colleague Robert Dow, who made a personal copy of White’s motets, left an epitaph for him in the manuscript: ‘Greatest glory of our muses, White: you perish, but your muse remains for ever’. Like Mundy, White also set ‘Tota pulchra es’, a colourful text that was traditionally applied to the Virgin Mary. And like Mundy’s Vox Patris caelestis, this piece shows the most unrestrained side of English devotion to the Virgin Mary—and perhaps also to her royal namesake. White’s setting is for six voices in a rather backward-looking style, with the plainsong melody always present in the baritone part and a relatively wide vocal range (F-g’’). The effect is expansive and lyrical, in contrast with the denser texture and continuous points of imitation that feature so prominently in many of White’s psalm-motets.

Thomas Tallis: Gaude gloriosa Dei mater

Gaude gloriosa Dei mater

John Taverner: Mater Christi

Mater Christi

Robert White: Tota pulchra es

Tota pulchra es

Thomas Tallis: Magnificat


Thomas Tallis: Videte miraculum

Videte miraculum

Robert White: Regina caeli

Regina caeli

Robert Fayrfax: Ave Dei patris filia

Ave Dei patris filia

John Sheppard: Verbum caro

Verbum caro

BBC Music Magazine

May 2017


“ the consort’s blend is natural rather than rigidly smooth, with beautiful transparency from the altos, a sonorous bass-line and a steady, secure pulse. The impression is of wandering through a sequence of chapels, some tall and dazzlingly bright…some strikingly dark and heavy”

Early Music Today

May 2017


“Superb artistry coupled with informed scholarship is a Contrapunctus hallmark… Tuning is immaculate throughout and the occasional gem-like false relations sparkle like brilliant diamonds in the Queen of Heaven’s crown”

Record Review

18th February 2017

“If it’s the Baldwin Partbooks you want to explore, this second volume from Contrapunctus is a fine option”

The Guardian

16th February 2017


“Elder’s performance has a special, spacious inevitability about it.”

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